British Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke says he will raise the issue of insurance licences for British companies in wide-ranging talks about financial services with mainland officials. Mr Clarke, who leaves Hong Kong for Beijing today, also will discuss propects for closer financial and technical co-operation. Only one US insurance company, American International Assurance, and a Japanese group, Tokio Fire and Marine, have been granted licences. British companies, particularly those with representative offices in Hong Kong, have been lobbying hard to secure mainland representation. Earlier, Mr Clarke expressed confidence in the future of the territory following July's handover. 'I believe the commitment to 'one country, two systems' and China's strong assurances of Hong Kong's economic and financial autonomy provides a sound basis for achieving this and securing Hong Kong's future economic stability,' he said. Industrialised countries outside the Group of 10 had an increasing stake in a well-functioning international monetary system, particularly those whose prosperity was based on open markets, he added. 'We want to promote better international co-operation and information-sharing between financial supervisors,' he said. 'In a world of rapidly developing financial markets and innovation, the old dividing lines between products and markets are breaking down.'