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EURIM Working Group on UK Competitiveness in the Global Knowledge Economy 
(2004-2007 Programme)

This page and the links from it record previous work 
carried out by this group.  

Back to Current programme

Introduction and Terms of Reference

Meeting Details, Agendas, Tabled Papers and Minutes

Group Outputs (Papers and Briefings)

Other Relevant Documents & Links

Working Drafts (Restricted Access)

 

 

Introduction and Terms of Reference

Objectives: 

To ensure that the UK (and the EU as a whole) are competitive (in terms of regulation, skills, communications etc.) in a global knowledge economy where jobs, including high value jobs, may increasingly be located anywhere in the world.

 

Group Objectives and Activities for 2006 

EURIM's knowledge economy group has two main objectives for 2006.  They are:

  1. To complement the HM Treasury (Gowers) review of the UK IPR regime by keeping parliamentarians abreast of the relevant issues and ensure well-informed debate .
  2. Produce an overview of the factors that determine the location of knowledge-based industries, look at the UK's performance in terms of those factors, and identify whether any urgent action is required.

1 - IPR Regime

 IPR has emerged as a key issue in achieving a successful knowledge economy.  It is therefore essential to support a fair and robust IPR regime across Europe to protect investment and foster competition.  The IPR related activities of this group can be found on the IPR subgroup webpages.

2 - Locational Factors for Knowledge-based businesses

Preliminary research suggests that the factors influencing where businesses locate their operations in the world have changed over the last ten years.  Traditionally, business location was affected by quantitative factors - cost of land, labour, transport, raw materials, and the availability of grants and subsidies.  Now those factors have been replaced by more qualitative criteria - skills, IPR regime, regulations, red tape, available technology, broadband infrastructures, language, culture, etc.  Taxation and political and economic stability are the only factors that have remained relatively constant.  

At the same time, the contribution that knowledge-based businesses make to the economies of many countries has grown to such an extent that it now outstrips that of traditional manufacturing.  However, unlike manufacturing operations, these knowledge businesses are not tied to physical assets or raw materials and can choose to locate their operations anywhere in the world.  That means that those countries offering the most advantageous environment will attract these businesses, thereby benefiting from the jobs and tax revenues created by them.  Competition for these businesses is now truly global.  

It is therefore vital that UK and EU policy keeps pace with both these sets of changes so that there are no barriers to organisations wishing to locate in this region.  In some areas of the EU, policy has lagged behind and those countries are paying the price as whole sectors have relocated elsewhere.  Some say that nowhere is this more evident than in the German pharmaceutical industry, a world leader until a few years ago.

Although the UK currently leads the rest of the EU as a destination for inward investment, this position is not secure.  For instance, the Japanese car industry in the whole of the UK employs fewer people than currently work for Citibank in London, yet Citibank could relocate its operations, along with its highly-paid jobs,  to the other side of the world within a few days.

This sub-group is therefore exploring the locational factors for knowledge businesses and will prepare a briefing for Parliamentarians and Civil Servants that lists the various factors and identifies areas where current policy or practice is creating barriers to inwards investment. Initial findings are available here.  

 

Group Activities during 2005 

Towards the end of 2004 and during 2005 the group focused on IPR issues, on the premise that a good Intellectual Property Rights regime is absolutely essential for a successful Knowledge Economy:- as business moves from a manufacturing base to a knowledge base, we become increasingly dependent on IP. 

The work was undertaken by the IPR subgroup, which produced an information paper on IPR to help parliamentarians understand this complex subject, reviewed the UK Implementation of the Enforcement Directive and prepared a response to the European Commission on the proposed Supplementary Enforcement Directive (this proposed Directive was withdrawn in December 2005 so work was suspended pending a further communication from the Commission).  

Click Here for all information including group history, objectives, outputs and relevant documents. Or visit www.eurim.org.uk/activities/ipr/ipr.php 

 

Group Activities during 2004 

At the recent meeting of EURIM's Content and Issues Panel, chaired by Ian Stewart MP, a key focus was agreed on Communications, Competitiveness and Innovation.  With the impending UK Presidency of the EU (second half of 2005) and of the G8 at the same time, we have an ideal opportunity now to plan to brief UK Parliamentarians to progress issues of Communication, Competitiveness and Innovation during the UK Presidencies.
 
A planning meeting to agree objectives and strategies was held on 22nd June kindly hosted at IBM South Bank.  This was followed by a briefing meeting with Malcolm Harbour MEP to identify political priorities and areas for action.  

Click here for papers, agenda and minutes

 

Group Outputs

The group held its first meeting relating to its 2004-5 programme (Making the most of the UK's forthcoming presidencies of the G8 and the EU) on 22nd June 2004.  The group also met as EURIM's Competitiveness Group in 2003 to make an informal response to the Trade and Industry Select Committee Inquiry on the 1998 White Paper "Our Competitive Future - Building the Knowledge Driven Economy".  Previously the group looked at broader aspects relating to the UK's competitiveness as a place to do e-business, particularly Broadband.  For minutes and meeting outputs including our response to the Select Committee Inquiry, click here.

 

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