Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Great Britans Investment in U.S. Rises

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Great Britans Investment in U.S. Rises

Article excerpt

NEW YORK _ Whether you're putting Shell gasoline in your car, Pillsbury biscuits in your mouth, USAir on your itinerary or, maybe soon, MCI on your telephone bill, you're doing business with Britain.

Business dealings between the United States and Britain are growing as close as the countries' shared history, language, culture and legal tradition.

As corporate ties increasingly blur national boundaries and trade within Europe and North America becomes less restricted, it has become easier _ and essential _ for companies to cement their links with foreign markets. And for British companies looking to expand abroad, the United States presents an enticing and practical market.

The weak dollar has made everything American _ from autos to airplanes _cheaper for foreigners.

Moreover, "there's a great interchange of human resources that make deals, lawyers and investment bankers" that help U.S.-British transactions move at a rapid rate, said Irwin Stelzer, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Two of the latest deals not only represent the expanded business links between the two countries, but stand to benefit from them as well. Greater traffic in people and information means more opportunities for a transnational airline or telephone company.

British Telecommunications PLC is buying 20 percent of MCI Communications Corp. for $4.3 billion. The deal would give each company broader reach each other's markets and marry MCI's marketing savvy with British Telecom's financial strength.

British Airways reached into the U.S. market by purchasing a 19.9 percent stake in USAir for $300 million earlier this year and won U.S. approval for the two airlines to coordinate their operations.

"Borders are irrelevant to airlines and communications companies," Stelzer said. "They're physical fictions created by governments. …

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