Trading Opportunities: North of England

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 23rd January 2020.

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Photo of Mark Fletcher Mark Fletcher Conservative, Bolsover

What assessment she has made of the extent of international trading opportunities for counties in the north of England.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

Northern counties exported over £165 billion-worth of goods and services last year, and we want to increase this. New free trade agreements will remove costs for manufacturers and producers and enable those businesses to grow.

Photo of Mark Fletcher Mark Fletcher Conservative, Bolsover

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. As we exit the European Union, it is vital that businesses in Bolsover and elsewhere are encouraged to export to new markets. Does the Department have any plans to strengthen regional teams across the midlands and the north to help businesses take advantage of new trading opportunities?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

I am pleased to tell my hon. Friend that we have 130 international trade advisers and 186 export champions—businesses that already export and that encourage their peers to export—across the north of England. We have just sent out an exporting toolkit to MPs on both sides of the House so that they can get in touch with those local trade advisers and help their businesses export. We estimate that there are 600 businesses in every constituency with the potential to export that do not currently do so. MPs have a really important role in helping those businesses to get the information and support they need.