Trade Promotion

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 4th December 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to promote British business in (a) Australia, (b) Canada and (c) New Zealand.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

We are taking forward our manifesto commitment to strengthen relationships with Australia and New Zealand and bilateral trade plays an important part of this. Our trade campaigns are focussed on the strongest growing sectors that match UK business strengths. Australia continues to offer particularly good opportunities for UK firms in transport infrastructure witha Laing O’Rourke led consortium winning a £2.1bn highway upgrade project earlier in the year. Other sectors of opportunity include: defence, urban regeneration & construction, airports, rail, ICT & software, food & beverage. The changing dynamics in the world economy have reduced demand for UK oil & gas expertise but we are continuing to explore opportunities in renewable energy.

We are also using the GREAT Campaign to provide platforms for UK firms to network through business events around Rugby World Cup, Bond, the Clipper Yacht Race, Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne and a broader Culture is GREAT campaign in Victoria. Trade missions from London, Northern Ireland and a sports infrastructure themed mission organised by Major Events International have all visited Australia in 2015. We are also supporting the launching of EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement talks and we maintain a strong flow of ministerial and high-level official contacts in support of the bilateral relationship including on trade and investment.

In New Zealand particularly good opportunities continue for UK firms in transport infrastructure, defence,construction, airports, rail, and food & beverage. Our campaigns have exposed senior New Zealand infrastructure leaders to UK infrastructure best practice which has helped eight UK companies win contracts totalling over £28m this financial year.

We are using the GREAT Campaign here to provide platforms for UK firms to network through business events around Rugby World Cup, Bond and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Wellington. Trade missions from London and companies from Northern Ireland visited in 2015. We also strongly support the launch of negotiations on an EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and we will continue to use ministerial engagement in 2016 to further trade and business objectives.

In Canada, our efforts are focussed on those sectors with the highest potential for British business and where the UK has competitive advantage. These include: energy, infrastructure, transport, financial services, creative industries and defence and security. Activities in the past three months to deliver this include: a Northern Ireland Minister led trade mission to Montreal & Toronto; securing business for UK film producers at the Toronto International Film Festival; deliver a 12 day programme of GREAT activity in Toronto and supporting low carbon technology at the opening of Shell’s Carbon Capture and Storage facility in Alberta.

In 2016 we will promote the Canada EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement which will deliver substantial benefit for UK business. This will include publication of a report to highlight specific opportunities for UK business afforded by CETA and a roadshow of profile raising UK events targeted at businesses.

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