Gates to advise U.K. on globalization

The Microsoft chairman is appointed to a panel to help the country compete with economies such as China and India.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will advise the U.K. government on how to respond to the challenges of globalization so it can compete with the fast-growing economies of China and India.

Gates has been appointed to a panel of 12 of the world's leading businesspeople on a new International Business Advisory Council (Ibac) that will advise British Treasury chief Gordon Brown and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry over the next three years.

Other high-tech names on the Ibac include Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay; Ratan Tata, chairman of India's Tata Group; and Sir Ka-shing Li, chairman of the board at Hutchison Whampoa.

They will sit alongside more traditional industrial leaders on the panel such as Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco; Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores; and Lord Browne, group CEO of BP.

The Ibac will meet once per year. The first meeting will be held later this year at 11 Downing Street.

"There is no more important question for advanced industrial countries today than how to rise to the challenges and opportunities of globalization," Brown said in a statement.

"The council will advise on how we can do more to rise to the challenges we face and ensure that the U.K. remains one of the world's key locations of choice for high value-added activity, working together to pursue a less protectionist world," he added.

Ibac's aim is to discuss policies to improve U.K. competitiveness, including specific issues relating to the globalization challenge.

Andy McCue of reported from London.

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