International Trade Secretary, Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP visited Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, today to talk to Havering businesses about how to make the most of exporting opportunities as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
Dr Fox was speaking at the Export Hub roadshow, an event organised by me and my team as an extension of my work on parliament’s International Trade Committee. The Hub brought together experts on export finance, as well as local business advisers and banks, to give Havering businesses the best information on how to expand into growing international markets. The event was supported by Queen’s Theatre and Barclays Hornchurch, and was attended by some fantastic local businesses including awarding-winning Havering digital services firm, Respondit.
The Hub has been touring the UK as part of the #ExportingisGREAT campaign to boost British exports across the world. The export of UK goods increased by 15.9 per cent in the year to October 2017 to £617 billion, and order books for British manufacturers are now stronger than at any time since August 1988.
I wanted to find a practical way of bringing to life the committee work I am doing on trade in parliament and showing local businesses how to be part of the positive story on trade. A lot of small businesses are intimidated by the idea of exporting or unaware of the kinds of commercial opportunities out there. Once our future relationship with the EU is negotiated, I hope we can secure exciting trade deals with new partners but the opportunities are already out there now for local businesses and the Department has a range of tools to help take advantage of them.
The Department for International Trade has built a digital trade portal to match businesses to market opportunities, expanded the UK’s network of overseas trade posts and given banks the ability to provide UK Export Finance directly to reduce the upfront cost of exporting. The East London and Thames Gateway region is becoming increasingly important to the UK’s global trading links as City Airport expands, new logistics centres are developed at the London Gateway port, Tilbury port gets fresh investment and the proposed Lower Thames Crossing improves links to Dover.
Dr Fox said, ‘Brexit is not a time bomb to be defused but a great opportunity to be embraced. I am delighted to see the enthusiasm of so many Havering businesses in working with my department to expand into the world and carve out Britain’s slice of the world’s growing markets.’