Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Adam Afriyie Adam Afriyie Chair, Members' Expenses Committee, Chair, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, Chair, Members' Expenses Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to improve trade relations between Commonwealth members; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

As I made clear in my speech to the Commonwealth Business Forum held in parallel to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November 2013, the UK is committed to strengthening trade across the Commonwealth. At CHOGM, Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed the Kotte Statement on International Trade and Investment which recognised the potential for growth in intra-Commonwealth trade. I continue to lead our engagement with the Commonwealth Business Council and its new chairman, Lord Marland as we work together to strengthen the prosperity of all the Commonwealth's members.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is now represented in 22 Commonwealth countries. These include high growth markets such as India, Singapore, South Africa and Malaysia and other established markets such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We are also working hard to ensure the EU signs ambitious Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Commonwealth countries to improve the access of UK companies to these markets.

Ahead of this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, UKTI, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Commonwealth Business Council are working together to deliver a business conference for 200 Commonwealth business leaders. UK Trade & Investment are also organising a British Business House, which will showcase Britain to Commonwealth businesses.

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