Overseas Trade: Latin America

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 16th February 2015.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to improve trade between the UK and emerging markets in Latin America; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has teams throughout Latin America supporting British firms. It has increased resource in Colombia and Mexico, while Government has opened new embassies in El Salvador and Paraguay and a new Consulate General in Recife, Brazil; each of which is working to improve trade links. Additionally, dedicated prosperity officers have been added in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Panama

As Part of the GREAT campaign the Government has supported missions in Brazil (supporting Education, energy, sport and retail), Mexico (Ports) and Peru (Energy). To the end of 2014 UKTI has reported £80 million in business wins related to GREAT campaign activities in the region.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is supporting UK firms in the region through the provision of an International Export Finance Adviser based in Rio de Janeiro. UKEF has provided some £1.5 billion of support for exports over recent years and is considering further projects including municipal infrastructure and education projects in Columbia and Brazil.

The Government continues to strive for greater trade liberalisation between the UK and Latin America through securing EU free trade agreements (FTAs) in the region. The EU-Chile FTA helped UK-Chile bilateral trade increase by 360% between 2003 and 2012. Through the EU the UK has recently concluded trade negotiations with Central American countries and with Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. The UK continues to make a case for an FTA with Mercosur (South America’s leading trading bloc) countries.

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