TISC PN11 0607



Telephone: 020 7219 5777/5779

PN 11 of Session 2006-07


Europe moves East: The impact of the 'new' EU Member States on UK business

The Trade and Industry Committee is today launching an inquiry into the impact on UK business of the accession of the ten Central and Eastern European Member States in 2004 and 2007.

Anecdotally, it appears that a number of businesses are taking advantage of cheaper wages and other lower costs to move manufacturing capacity from the UK to Central and Eastern Europe, and that overseas investors who might once have thought of establishing operations in the UK are instead locating in the east of the EU. At the same time, these are the countries showing the most rapid economic growth within the Single Market, their per capita GDP would appear to make them an attractive market for goods and services not yet accessible to most of the population of developing countries, and they have a comparatively highly-skilled and educated workforce.

The Committee will consider, amongst other things:

  • Is the UK exploiting the opportunities afforded by the accession of these countries to the EU?

  • What are the most promising areas for developing business? Is there potential for exporting more goods and services to these countries?

  • Where may the UK be losing out to competitors?

  • What advantage might the UK draw from the existence of the skilled workforce in these countries?

  • Is there scope for the UK's educational establishments and businesses to build relationships with students and educational institutions in eastern Europe? How could the UK and these countries pool their scientific and technical know-how to reap the maximum benefit for all concerned?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing business there? Is it still easier to operate in western than in eastern Europe; and, if so, why? What barriers exist?

  • How could the UK exploit any synergies with the economies of these countries?

The Committee is particularly interested in learning the views of any businessmen who have worked in eastern and central Europe on the attractions and difficulties of working there.

The Committee invites written submissions on any of these subjects, preferably in the form of an MS Word document, by e-mail to tradeindcom@parliament.uk with a single hard copy sent to the Clerk of the Committee at the address above by 5.00 pm on Friday 16 March 2007.

Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail.

For further information about the inquiry please call the Committee Office on 020 7219 5777/5779.

8 February 2007