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EC calls on Members to report problems working overseas


ICE MEMBERS facing barriers to working overseas are being asked to report their problems to the European Commission.

The Commission is collecting the data in advance of negotiations on the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The call for information has come via the ICE, which is co-ordinating the collection of information from British engineers.

ICE European Affairs Manager Diana Maxwell said the Commission was interested in hearing about obstacles to working outside the European Union ranging from the financial to the regulatory to the operational, such as the growing reliance on e-commerce.

It is also interested in barriers affecting both British companies and individual engineers - such as the recognition of professional qualifications.

She added that the ICE would not pass on the names of individuals or firms who reported export problems.

Much of the negotiations are likely to concentrate on trade between the USA and EU. This is a highly complex area, with the USA only able to commit to any agreement on a state by state basis, while the Commission is acting for a continent.

GATS is the agreement, brokered by the World Trade Organisation in 1994 and signed up to by 130 countries, to encourage cross-border trade in services. It now sits alongside the much better known and longer running General Agreement on Trades and Tariffs.

ICE Members wanting to pass on information to the Commission should contact Diana Maxwell at ICE on (0171) 665-2155.

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