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British Exports

Volume 704: debated on Thursday 2 December 2021

The Secretary of State announced a refreshed export strategy—Made in Britain, Sold to the World—on 17 November during International Trade Week. This business-centred 12-point plan is designed to transform our support for exporters, encourage them to sell to the world and accelerate our race to £1 trillion-worth of exports per year.

I welcome that new strategy. The port of King’s Lynn handles half a million tonnes of exports of barley and other high-quality agricultural products as well as imports, and it has just had one of its busiest years. Does my hon. Friend agree that the investment that Associated British Ports is making in new facilities to support the growing demand for timber from the construction sector and other supply chains is a vote of confidence in Norfolk and will help our economy to bounce back?

I welcome ABP’s investment in King’s Lynn and was glad to hear of the new Vancouver timber terminal, which I understand will open on Monday, representing £1.4 million of investment. With 95% of the UK’s trade facilitated by the maritime sector, our ports are integral to UK trade and to the success of our Made in Britain, Sold to the World strategy.

I am sure that the Minister, like me, has been incredibly impressed by the small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to export to new markets. What support is available for a business such as N’Genius, which is based in my Warrington South constituency and has patented a new high-strength stainless steel that can revolutionise engineering and construction? How can this Government help it export that UK innovation to the rest of the world?

Our new export strategy is a 12-point plan focused on tackling the barriers to trade faced by SMEs. We are opening markets and supporting companies through the export support service, which provides a single point of entry to DIT support for SMEs. This new service will direct businesses to services such as those provided by UK Export Finance, the UK Export Academy and our pilot UK trade show programme. I am happy to connect N’Genius to one of our international trade advisers for further assistance.

Growing British exports has a key role in our levelling-up agenda. I am particularly proud of some world-class textile, engineering, sheet metal fabricators and food and drink businesses in my Yorkshire constituency. What more can the Minister and his Department do to support my world-class Yorkshire businesses to export to the world?

Our export strategy will ensure that those companies in Yorkshire will be supported through all stages of their exporting journey, whether through the UK Export Academy, the advice of our global network of international trade experts, or the financial support or export credit provided by UK Export Finance. In my recent visit to Leeds, I met our excellent team of international trade advisers there. Again, I am more than happy to put them in contact with my hon. Friend to provide additional support.

Exports from Northern Ireland to Ireland were €2.8 billion in the first nine months of this year, up 60% on the same period in 2020. Does the Minister agree that while Brexit has been an export disaster for GB, it has certainly been a boon for exports from Northern Ireland?

The President of the Board of Trade, the Secretary of State for International Trade, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Trevelyan) took the Board of Trade to a meeting in Ireland. I am sure that that issue was discussed. If the hon. Gentleman would like to know more details of what we are doing to support mutual trade, I am more than happy to have a discussion with him.

When negotiating free trade agreements, the Government must promote and protect the interests of industries across the UK. What steps are the Government taking to protect the interests of Scottish agriculture in future negotiations?

The Department for International Trade is always looking to protect our own industries and sectors, including the agricultural sector, while ensuring that they are able to exploit new markets. In terms of beef and lamb, our teams are working hard to ensure that the new markets we are opening up will be available to Scottish farmers. Again, if the hon. Lady would like to know more about the support we are able to offer, I am very happy to facilitate that discussion.

I thank the Minister for his responses, but bearing in mind the fears of our farmers and farmers’ unions following the New Zealand deal, will he outline what steps have been taken with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs at the Northern Ireland Assembly to promote our British produce exports to global markets affected by the New Zealand deal?

My understanding is that there are regular and frequent conversations between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and DAERA. I am more than happy to ensure that the hon. Gentleman gets details of those discussions if he has any specific concerns he wishes to have addressed.