Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered at on 22 December 2015.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Labour, Penistone and Stocksbridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to promote trade and diplomatic connections with the Commonwealth.

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

The UK is committed to maintaining and strengthening its economic and diplomatic engagement with the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) led a strong UK delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in November. He announced funding for a number of initiatives including to help the Commonwealth’s small island states develop their maritime economies.

The UK pressed to ensure that trade issues were covered in the CHOGM communique. Commonwealth leaders agreed to advance global trade negotiations and in particular ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

I and The Minister for Trade and Investment, the right hon the Lord Maude of Horsham, took part in the Commonwealth Business

Forum in Malta. Lord Maude addressed the opening plenary on leveraging trade networks across the Commonwealth, and pushed for progress on free trade agreements to facilitate and increase trade between Commonwealth countries. He also held a number of bilateral meetings to discuss trade and investment opportunities. The UK continues to be a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council which organised the Business Forum and is expanding business networks across the Commonwealth.

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