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High-growth Markets

Oral Answers to Questions — Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 10th April 2014.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker Conservative, Worcester 9:30 am, 10th April 2014

What steps he is taking to promote trade opportunities for UK business in high-growth markets.

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Minister of State for Portsmouth

UK Trade & Investment’s strategy confirms its continued focus on China, India and other high-growth markets, including some in Africa and central America. UKTI has identified more than 60 high-value opportunities in those markets, and with the help of our trade envoys, it promotes those opportunities to business. The £4 million announced by the Chancellor to support mid-sized businesses will enable UKTI to introduce such companies to those opportunities in high-growth markets.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker Conservative, Worcester

In export week, will the Minister congratulate Worcester firm Waste Spectrum, which is exactly one of those mid-sized companies that has recently achieved its first sale to China and will be dispatching one of its specially designed incinerators, built in Worcester, to that high-growth market at the end of this month?

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Minister of State for Portsmouth

I congratulate Waste Spectrum and the Worcester ambassadors, and I thank my hon. Friend for his work to promote trade with China. I know he visited China with the trade mission and was involved with an inward delegation from China, and understand that he is planning to visit China again. We need to thank him for his work in promoting links with that particular country.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Opposition Whip (Commons)

Yesterday I held a meeting with a range of British businesses on their experience of support for trade in India. They did not have a good story to tell about the signposting and advice of UK Trade & Investment and other agencies. Is the Minister concerned about UKTI’s budget plans and the support that it provides if the experience of British businesses is not positive?

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Minister of State for Portsmouth

I am sorry to hear that. If the hon. Lady lets me have the details, I will certainly ensure that that is followed up with UKTI. We have allocated a bigger budget to UKTI and it has sharpened its focus.

If there are improvements that we can make to the service that UKTI offers, I would be happy to consider them.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

Does the Minister agree that our future prosperity as a country depends on trading with China, India, south America and emerging economies in Africa—that is where all the future growth in the world economy will be—rather than being part of a backward-looking, inward-facing protection racket called the European Union?

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Minister of State for Portsmouth

I do not wholly agree with my hon. Friend. There are high-growth opportunities the world over, but the single market to which our businesses have access through our membership of the European Union is still an important part of our trading relationships.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

It may not be a high-growth market, but we had a reception here last week that introduced the fishing, oil and construction opportunities in the Falkland Islands. Has the Minister had an opportunity to discuss those matters with the Falkland Islands to develop those areas and give job opportunities to people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Minister of State for Portsmouth

In my capacity as Minister responsible for oil and gas, I am aware of the opportunities for developing the oil and gas fields off the Falklands. The hon. Gentleman will know that a considerable amount of initial exploration is taking place in the waters just to the north of the Falkland Islands, and of course we stand ready to help the Falkland Islands if that exploration can be turned into significant production.