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To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the risk of the Eurozone returning to recession and the statement by the Chancellor of Exchequer that Britain could not be immune from any such event, they plan to encourage industry and commerce to diversify their markets and reduce their reliance on the European Union market.
We have to recognise that the UK is not immune to problems elsewhere in the world. The UK has one of the most open economies in the world through trade and financial channels. In particular, growth in the euro area—our largest trading partner—is weak and we have to expect that to dampen our own recovery.
Since entering office, this Government has worked consistently towards a rebalancing of the UK economy and growing our trade with all parts of the world, including key emerging markets. Since 2010, for example, UKTI has increased the number of its overseas-based staff working outside the EU from 875 to 1060, reflecting the growing priority being given to non-EU markets; and, excluding aircraft, nearly all of the exports supported by UK Export Finance in recent years have been to markets outside the EU. Ministers continue to take an active role, including through the Chancellor-led annual Economic and Financial Dialogues with India and China, the most recent of which secured £2.4 billion in bilateral investment deals.