§ Mr. Michael Latham
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the numerical strength of the commercial sections in each of the following overseas diplomatic posts, namely, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates whether any of the officials in 269W post have any practical experience of the construction industry; and what advice or support facilities they are able to give to United Kingdom contractors or professional firms seeking to carry out work in those countries.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
The numerical strength strength of commercial sections in each of the diplomatic posts listed is as follows:
Post United Kingdom based officers Locally engaged staff Bahrain 2 4 Iran 8 9 Iraq 3 6 Jordan 1 4 Kuwait 4 9 Lebanon 1 3 Qatar 2 5 Saudi Arabia 6 9 Syria 1 3 Egypt 3 6 UAE (Dubai) 3 5 UAE (Abu Dhabi) 3 5
Whilst only two of the United Kingdom based officers listed above have practical experience of working either in or in close association with the construction industry, I should make it clear that commercial officers have a duty to all sectors of British industry and a close understanding of local market conditions and local language is aimed at rather than specialist experience of an individual industrial sector. Commercial officers are able to identify potential export opportunities help with identification of potential agents; assist with trade fair and trade mission arrangements help make contact with the media; and provide introductions to potential trade partners and leading commercial decision makers. Posts in the area regularly report on construction projects in the Middle East for the benefit of the British construction industry.