§ Mr. Jacques Arnold
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will assess the results of Proyecto Venezuela, the Venezualan-British business development initiative.
§ Mr. Needham
The main objectives of Proyecto Venezuela were to bring the opportunities in Venezuela to the attention of British industry and to raise the profile of United Kingdom companies in Venezuela. A research and publicity campaign and an intensive ministerial visiting programme helped achieve these objectives. Over 500 companies requested information on Venezuela, 185 companies and 500 company representatives attended seminars on Venezuela and in 1992 five missions comprising 118 companies visited the market. There was also a successful energy and environment seminar in Caracas held in conjunction with PDVSA, the Venezuelan State Oil Company.
In 1992, our direct export to Venezuela increased by 13 per cent. over 1991 and the United Kingdom continues to be one of the largest foreign direct investors in Venezuela. Several British companies have opened offices in Caracas. On the project side, there have been successes in the water sector. Companies are well placed to win contracts in other areas, including in the important oil and gas sector.
Proyecto Venezuela has always been considered a long-term project and the promotional programme, including inward and outward missions, continues. Proyecto Venezuela is also taking on an educational and cultural dimension with notable successes in the industrial training field. The British Council co-operated with the DTI in the production of a comprehensive training brochure and over 200 students from PDVSA and its affiliates have undertaken courses run by British training and higher education establishments.