Call for North West to have their say in the UK’s trade

Tue, September 25th, 2018

Call for people to have their say in the UK’s future trade agreements

Businesses and members of the public across the North West can now have their say about how the UK should capitalise on new opportunities to forge trading relationships with the rest of the world as we leave the European Union.

The Department for International Trade is today (Friday 21 September) hosting a roundtable event in Manchester in partnership with British American Business to seek the views of businesses based in the North West.

The event will focus on our future trading relationships with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Exports of goods to the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the Trans Pacific Partnership countries were worth £5.83 billion for the North West last year and accounted for £1 in every £5 of the region’s goods exports. Getting free trade agreements with these countries right will be crucial in fulfilling the new ambition set by the government’s Export Strategy to increase exports to 35% of GDP.

Members of the public can submit their views as part of four online consultations which are open until 26 October and last for a total of 14 weeks, which is two weeks longer than the European Union’s consultations on new free trade agreements.

Speaking ahead of the event, International Trade Minister George Hollingbery urged people across the North West to take part in the four online consultations.

Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery said:

“For the first time in over 40 years we will be able to determine the terms of our trade. That means new trade agreements with our key partners, as well as putting the UK at the heart of the world’s fastest growing regions such as Asia.

“The North West has sectors ready and waiting to benefit from these deals and many are already taking important steps with the support from DIT.

“We are committed to forging new trading relationships that create jobs, boost our vital industries and benefit consumers across the whole of the UK. I urge people across the North West to seize the opportunity to visit to make their voices heard.”

Emanuel Adam, Director of Policy and Trade at British American Business said:

“British American Business is delighted to be partnering with the Department for International Trade on its UK-wide roadshow as the Government sets out to learn from business how to shape the UK‘s future trade policies with markets such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and CPTPP. BAB has been proud to work with DIT and wholeheartedly shares its mission, which is to use international trade as a vehicle to bring prosperity and growth to our economy, businesses and workers.”

Vera Grantham, Head of International Trade at North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said:

“At this pivotal moment for the UK economy, Lancashire businesses would welcome new prospective free trade agreements with the CPTPP region and the USA. Currently these markets represent a small proportion of North West exports. New free trade agreements with these markets would give our businesses greater market access and potentially increase the number of businesses exporting, in particular SME’s, which can only be good news for Lancashire.”

Today’s roundtable is the second of 12 consultation roundtables held throughout the UK to seeks views from interested parties as we deliver an approach that works for the whole of the UK.

Ministers have praised the North West’s creativity, innovation and manufacturing. Greater Manchester’s graphene-based lightweight materials sector was one of the first to be chosen by Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox to benefit from the High Potential Opportunities scheme, which promotes firms internationally to receive foreign investment.

Exports of goods from the North West last year were worth £28.7 billion. The export of services from the North West was worth an additional £17.6 billion in 2015, the latest year in which data is available.

More than one fifth of goods exports from the North West – £5.83 billion worth – are covered by the consultations, with the USA being the North West’s largest export market accounting for 13.6% (£3.9 billion) of goods by value and the CPTPP countries accounting for a further 6.7% (£1.9 billion) of goods by value.

With such potential for North West firms in the global market, it is crucial that the region benefits fully from future trade agreements. That’s why the Department for International Trade wants to hear from all interested parties across the country.

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