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Let's demand reciprocal arrangements with US

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I fully support Paul Hyett's views on US firms operating in Britain making a mockery of UK registration laws that protect the title architect (AJ 17.5.01).

While Lester Korzilius may be technically correct when he disputes this, he knows the underlying issues (AJ 31.5.01).

We have no problem with our European architects directive and I am very happy to have US practices in this country, but only on a reciprocal basis, by virtue of the standards set down and the general philosophy of equivalence underlying that directive.

The US has a culture of trade protection, demonstrated by numerous issues over the years;

most recently over trying to keep British steel out. This is what is happening for architects' services. I am afraid reciprocity will have to go far beyond the issue of whether or not UK architects have to take the NCARB Architectural Registration Examination before being allowed to practice in the US.

The NAAB, which validates US schools, does not recognise our university education, and even if it does eventually, we will then need a green card.

When we have all these necessary elements, we will not be able to compete for US government projects unless we employ a percentage of African Americans, and they are few and far between in Europe.

The US 'talks the talks' in World Trade Organisation affairs but it rarely 'walks the walk'. Be clear: while we have good and supportive AIA friends in London and Europe, back home there is little or no understanding of the bitterness that is being engendered towards the US in Europe and particularly in the UK because of their restrictive and hypocritical attitude to free trade and because of their negative position on a sustainable future environment.

I hope that when Paul Hyett takes over as President of the RIBA he will continue to take steps to show the US what our institute feels about this very uneven playing field, and instead of being an American lapdog, our new government will also show its discontent for a change.

John Wright, chairman, FM Modern Design, Godalming, Surrey

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