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July 17, 1990

CABLE & WIRELESS DEMANDS RECIPROCITY CONDITION FOR ENTRY INTO UK MARKET

By CBR Staff Writer

At Cable & Wireless’ annual general meeting, the present chairman Lord Sharp, who is soon to be replaced by Lord Young, drew shareholders’ attention to the duopoly review that will be carried out in November. While he declined to reveal what Mercury Communications will submit to the Secretary of State on the matter, he emphasised the need for reciprocity in international trade. He pointed out that Cable & Wireless was able to get into the Japanese telecommunications market only because of support from the Prime Minister and the House of Commons who insisted that the continued purchasing of Japanese telecommunications equipment by the UK depended upon reciprocity of access to the Japanese telecommunications market. Lord Sharp stressed that while more competition was to be encouraged in the UK telecoms market, Mercury wants equal access to the continental and US markets that continental and US companies enjoy over here. He therefore urged the Secretary of State to be prudent in his approach to the review. Lord Sharp finished by saying: I know that some of us may be guided by the Biblical injunction that ‘the meek will inherit the earth’ but to allow foreign access to Britain’s infrastructure without reciprocity would be naive.

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