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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 13:31 GMT
Global elite 'to advise Treasury'
Gordon Brown
The council's work will initially run for three years
The world's top business leaders are to advise the Treasury on ways to improve the UK's economic competitiveness, the chancellor has announced.

Microsoft chief Bill Gates and Tesco's Sir Terry Leahy will be among the 12 members of Gordon Brown's International Business Advisory Council.

It is hoped the group will provide guidance on facing up to the economic challenge from China and India.

The panel will meet once a year, its first gathering later this year.

Big names

Bernard Arnault, LVMH
Lord Browne, BP
Jean-Pierre Garnier, GlaxoSmithKline
Bill Gates, Microsoft
Sir Ka-Shing Li, Hutchison Whampoa
Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco
Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce
Robert Rubin, Citigroup
Lee Scott, Wal-Mart
Ratan Tata, Tata Group
Meg Whitman, eBay
James Wolfensohn, former World Bank president

Its work will run initially until 2009.

Other members of the panel include Lee Scott, head of retailer Wal-Mart, eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, former World Bank president James Wolfensohn and Lord Browne, chief executive of BP.

The body will also include senior executives from leading Indian firm, Tata Group and Hong-Kong based telecoms firm Hutchison Whampoa.

Mr Brown said the panel would advise on how Britain should face up to the challenges posed by globalisation and exploit its strengths in skills, innovation and infrastructure.

"The Council will ensure that the UK remains one of the world's key locations of choice for high-value added activity, working together to pursue a less protectionist world," Mr Brown said.

The panel will meet at 11 Downing Street, the chancellor's home.

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