§ Mr. Bellingham
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on(a) European Community draft legislation to create a single market in service; and (b) on the effect the proposals will have. 788W
§ Jacqui Smith
The proposals, which were expected to be published in the form of a European Framework Directive in mid-December, are the commission's response to a request by leaders at the Lisbon European Council in 2000 that the internal market be made to work for services.
The aim is to remove those barriers to cross-border trade that affect all service sectors and all stages of the business process—establishment, use of inputs, promotion, distribution, sales, after-sales. Since the proposals have not yet been formally published, the Government cannot make any detailed comments at this point on their effect.
The UK has already expressed support for the aim of making the single market a reality for services believing that this will bring advantages to the UK economy, its businesses and consumers. Market services have been increasing in importance to the UK economy over many years and now account for the bulk of UK economic growth.
Greater competition and openness have the potential of providing to recipients more choice of better quality services at cheaper prices and reducing the cost of manufactured goods, thereby creating further gains for consumers. The implications for UK businesses would extend from traditional service companies, such as retailers and accountants, to manufacturers, who use and provide services.