Since 22 February, the Export Support Service has supported over 400 businesses and individuals wishing to export to Ukraine. To support British businesses, the Department for International Trade has expanded its Export Support Service to act as a single point of enquiry for businesses and traders with questions relating to the situation in Ukraine and Russia. The Department will continue to support business and traders during this period. Having a dedicated export support team ready to help at the end of the phone will help businesses to access the information they need at any time. Indeed, the Department runs Britain’s system of export controls and licensing. The export control joint unit is expediting urgent export licence applications for Ukraine.
The British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is honoured to be hosting a delegation of Ukrainian MPs to Parliament today; I will share that information with them. For Ukraine, the big issue in exports is getting grain out of the blockaded port of Odesa. What conversations is the Minister having with the World Trade Organisation to stop the illegal blockade?
My hon. Friend raises an important point. Indeed, until Russia’s invasion in February, Ukraine was one of the largest exporters of grains and vegetable oils. Britain has developed a six-point plan for tackling food insecurity. We continue to work with international partners, including at the WTO, to find ways to resume grain exports from Ukraine to the countries who desperately need them, particularly in the developing world. The outcome that we want is to keep trade flowing and to keep prices down.
On 10 May, Britain laid legislation to liberalise all tariffs on imports of Ukrainian origin. Those measures have reduced barriers faced by Ukrainian businesses and consumers in their time of need, making it easier to obtain essential goods and aid from Britain. In lockstep with our allies, we are introducing the largest and most severe economic sanctions that Russia has ever faced, with, for example, up to 60% of Russian foreign currency reserves currently frozen. Analysis shows that, as a result, Russia is heading for its deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The United Kingdom is exploring how she can support the Ukrainian Government’s reconstruction efforts. There may be opportunities for British businesses to contribute with their skills, technology and ingenuity. To that end, I am delighted that, tomorrow, the Under-Secretary of State for International Trade, my hon. Friend the Member for Finchley and Golders Green (Mike Freer), will host the Ukraine investment summit to bring together British companies who have expertise in reconstruction with Ukrainian decision makers to begin identifying opportunities for collaboration.