Blair helps boost hi-tech UK business

05-08-2006

Prime minister Tony Blair has begun a four day visit to California to boost UK high-tech industries in the US state.

His visit is the first for a UK prime minister and will focus on discussions over hi-tech industries such as sustainable fuels and controversial stem cell research. He is also due to discuss climate change with ex-film star and current governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Their discussion on sustainable energy and the development of clean technologies will also include BP boss Lord Browne.

"California is an economy which is similar to ours in that it has a new economy which is increasingly based on heavy knowledge-based industries," said his spokesman.

"These are based on innovation, commitment to education, developing biotechnologies, including stem cell research and high tech industries."

According to the spokesman, there are over 500 UK companies currently operating in the sunshine-blessed state, creating over 120,000 jobs.

Mr Blair is also due to give a leadership speech to the executives of Rupert Murdoch's News International on Sunday night.

However, his visit will not give him a break from talks on the Middle East crisis, which aer expected to occupy a considerable amount of his time. According to his aides, Mr Blair will spend today in telephone conferences with other leaders on the crisis.


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