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Free Trade Agreements

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 14 January 2021

What steps her Department has taken to help ensure that businesses in the Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership area can benefit from future free trade agreements. (910752)

We are determined that all regions of the United Kingdom should benefit from free trade agreements. Our English network of international trade advisers includes 30 giving export support in the south-east of England, all of whom have been trained to help companies take advantage of FTAs. We have a range of online resources, including country-by-country guides and tools on such as “Find an online marketplace” and “Find export opportunities”, in addition to the wide range of webinars that the Department provides.

The Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership is soon to submit a freeport bid for the Manor Royal industrial area south of Gatwick airport. May I have an assurance from my hon. Friend that he will liaise with our right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in support of this excellent initiative?

I would not want to tread on my hon. Friend’s toes. As he understands, the selection process is ongoing and it will be decided by the Treasury, but obviously we are working very closely with the Chancellor and the Treasury team, precisely to ensure that the opportunities for freeports are assigned to the best possible places and that all the benefits that they can bring are realised, for the benefit of constituents such as my hon. Friend’s.