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Gordon Brown is setting up an International Business Advisory Council to advise him, and trade secretary Alan Johnson, on global business and the challenges of globalisation.

Brown said: "“There is no more important question for advanced industrial countries today than how to rise to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. In Britain we have strong foundations, built on macroeconomic stability, openness to competition and trade, and investment in infrastructure, science and skills."

The twelve apostles will meet at 11 Downing Street once a year initially for three years. The first meeting will be later this year. They will advise the chancellor on globalisation and how to keep Britain competitive.

Members include Bill Gates, Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay, Rajan Tata of the Tata Group, Sir Ka-shing Li, chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, Sir Terry Leahy, boss of Tesco and Lee Scott of Wal-Mart. Bosses from GlaxoSmithKline, BP, Rolls Royce, Citigroup, LVMH and James Wolfensohn of the World Bank will also attend.

More from the Treasury press release here.

Brown today delivers his tenth, and probably last, Budget.®

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