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Support for UK Manufacturing Exports

Volume 712: debated on Thursday 21 April 2022

In 2021, the DIT launched a new export campaign for manufacturing businesses—"Made in the UK, Sold to the World”. The campaign, in line with our refreshed export strategy, celebrates the quality of the UK manufacturing sector and its global demand. We are supporting businesses across all the UK regions and nations to amplify and boost export opportunities throughout the manufacturing sector.

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. Would he join me in celebrating the success of the port of Liverpool, which had its busiest month in March, when it handled 52,000 containers? Would he also continue to do all he can to ensure that we make more use of these amazing facilities, especially to export British manufactured goods?

I congratulate the port of Liverpool on its busiest ever month and look forward to the record being beaten regularly as exports from the north-west continue to grow. The Department continues to help exporters across the Liverpool city region and the wider north-west. Indeed, last month I joined a joint mission to Ireland with the Mayors of the Liverpool city region and Greater Manchester—the first of its kind. The mission allowed us to showcase 15 exporters from the north-west, who were able to talk about the strength of the region, to boost the future trading relationship between our two countries.

Will my hon. Friend update the House on how manufacturing exports are considered when negotiating free trade agreements?

We are proud to advance UK manufacturing exports through our free trade agreements programme. For example, with Australia and New Zealand, we eliminated tariffs for 100% of UK manufacturing exports. In almost all cases, tariffs will be eliminated the day that the agreement comes into force. That will save, for example, £34 million of duties for UK car exports to Australia from day one, supporting our levelling-up agenda.

My constituency has a long history of manufacturing excellence, whether in iron and steel or in producing the best glass in the world. I have fantastic companies, such as Quality Metal Products. How is the Department ensuring that UK manufacturers remain competitive in attracting inward investment to help companies in my constituency to support growth?

The UK has a proud reputation as one of the most attractive economies in the world. In 2020, the UK secured the most greenfield foreign direct investment in Europe, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Last year, the £1.4 billion global Britain investment fund announced aims to increase our attractiveness, especially to manufacturers. I am more than happy to link up with my hon. Friend’s manufacturers to see what we can do to boost manufacturing in her constituency.

The figures reported for UK goods exports show that they fell by 14% in the three months to January compared with the same period in 2020. That is in contrast with an 8.2% global average rise over the same period. When the Minister and the Secretary of State announce a range of initiatives to help exporters, will they admit that the capacity is simply not there to deliver the additional support for exports that especially our small and medium-sized enterprises need?

I wholeheartedly disagree with the hon. Gentleman: the capacity is there. We provide the export support service, the international aviation fund, international trade advisers, the export academy, export champions, the tradeshow access programme, the international market support programme, UK Export Finance—all of which were showcased at the parliamentary export showcase, which I am not sure the hon. Gentleman attended. He could have found out more details if he had come to it.