§ Mr. Viggers
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has any evidence that the United Kingdom insurance industry is unfairly hindered in its overseas operations by trade barriers imposed by foreign Governments; and whether he believes that any initiative by Her Majesty's Government is required to improve the situation.
§ Mr. Eyre
Many countries regulate the conduct of insurance business and some of this regulation acts as a barrier to free trade. That is even true of certain member States of the European Community. A draft EC directive which would constitute a major step towards freeing intra-Community trade in insurance has been under consideration since 1975. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister drew attention at the European Council in December 1980 to the lack of progress on this draft, and it is now due to be considered by Ministers in the Finance Council on 16 March. The United Kingdom is also participating in the work of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on the identification of obstacles to trade in insurance.