The push towards re-positioning the UK as Global Britain in the wake of Brexit has continued apace with the appointment of a new cohort of trade envoys who it is hoped will promote trade between the UK and non-European countries.
Former cricketer Ian Botham predictably garnered the most headlines as one of the new envoys, but the government says it is determined to promote greater trade links with non-Eu countries, in particular Australia and New Zealand.
“Our Trade Envoys play a key role in delivering our ambitious global trade agenda, and I am delighted the Prime Minister has appointed ten Trade Envoys who will boost opportunities for British businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing markets,” Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.
“By boosting exports, promoting inward investment and creating high-value, high-paying jobs, our Trade Envoys will help us build back better from Covid-19, ensuring every part of the UK benefits from our trade strategy.”
As part of the new approach, British companies will be given zero-tariff access to Australia’s railways under the terms of a trade deal agreed with Canberra.
The existing 5 per cent tariff on rail products will be scrapped under the deal, which also will allow UK companies to bid for Australian government contracts covering the supply of trains, track infrastructure and consultancy worth billions of pounds.
And trade is slowing both ways, with UK Business Minister Lord Grimstone trumpeting the success of overseas owners coming to the country to invest. “We intend to keep the UK as one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment in the world,” Lord Grimstone said.
“We are in that category but I like to think of investment as one of the most globally competitive sports and we intend to win in it.”
“It would be a sad day for Britain if we pulled down the shutters so that we weren’t a mercantile entrepreneurial country,” he said.
Bringing it home
His comments came as the government announced that the UK will hold a major international investment summit in October to attract more overseas investment in post-Brexit Britain.
“All our research shows that overseas invested companies are more productive and produce more jobs,” added Lord Grimstone.
“It’s an extraordinary finding but what it shows is the importance of attracting overseas investment into the UK.”
Recent figures show that foreign private buyers have spent more acquiring UK-listed business in the last eight months than they have in the last five years combined.
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