Our Advisory Board member Andrew Rosindell MP has been quizzing the UK Commonwealth Minister. Yesterday he questioned Hugo Swire MP on "what action he is taking to develop the UK's trading relationship with other Commonwealth countries."
"The UK is committed to strengthening trade across the Commonwealth. UK Trade and Investment is helping strengthen trade links with markets across the world that are key to the UK's future prosperity and is now represented in 22 Commonwealth countries. These include high growth markets such as India, Singapore, South Africa and Malaysia and others such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where we already have significant and well established trading relations. 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. The EU has a Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement with South Africa, while negotiations on FTAs with Canada and Singapore reached a political conclusion last year. The EU/Canada Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement [our piece on this here] will benefit the UK economy and businesses by over £1.3 billion a year. EU negotiations are also ongoing with India and Malaysia.
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 (UKTI) are also organising a British Business House, which will showcase UK plc to Commonwealth businesses.
As the Minister of State for the Commonwealth, I spoke at the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in Colombo [at which the Secretary General also welcomed CX], which took place ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, to highlight the Commonwealth's potential for increased trade and investment. UKTI sent a representative to the CBF to support British businesses.
We welcome the appointment of Lord Marland of Odstock as Chair of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC). We expect his appointment will help the CBC work towards increased trade and investment across the Commonwealth."