I will give way again in a little while.
World trade is at a pivotal moment. We are at the intersection of a series of major global trends—trends so seismic that they have transformed or will transform economies and societies across the world. Services are now a larger part of the world economy than ever before, and they are more easily traded across borders thanks to the internet and digital telecommunications. We live in an emerging knowledge transfer-based trading system, where an engineering report, a 3D printer design, or new advances in machine learning can be just as valuable as the contents of a cargo container.
The transfer of services and expertise in things such as product design and software engineering are becoming ever more important. A revolution in e-commerce is now under way. It is already a major component of world trade—from some of the world’s largest corporations, such as Alibaba and Amazon, to the thousands of small companies that have never before been able to trade internationally. Major new opportunities are arising in the rapidly developing commercial and consumer markets of south-east Asia, Africa and Latin America, and it is essential that Britain leverages its unique strengths to realise them.