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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent steps he has taken to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of British exporting companies; and if he will make a statement. (95040)

International trade is an essential part of the UK's prosperity. Over a quarter of our GDP is exported. Foreign-owned businesses account for around 20 per cent. of UK jobs in production sectors, and 9 per cent. of service sector jobs (excluding financial services).

Through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the Government launched their new five-year strategy “Prosperity in a Changing World” on 20 July. This represents a step change in our support for British businesses trading internationally. Key themes of the strategy include developing a programme of support for companies trading internationally in emerging markets such as India and China; marketing the UK internationally as a place to do business in and with; actively supporting knowledge-intensive businesses and innovative sectors; implementing an international R&D strategy in partnership with academic and business communities; and introducing a single coherent strategy to promote the UK and the City of London as the world’s leading centre for financial and business services.