The Government has today published its strategy for how trade and investment can drive the UK's economic recovery - it is a key part of its plan for growth.
Rebalancing and rebuilding the economy will take time, but the Trade and Investment White Paper sets out a series of practical first steps.
Particular emphasis is placed on supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to expand and export. The Government will:
Improve and expand the trade finance and insurance products it offers - boosting support for businesses who want to export, particularly SMEs - and bringing the UK broadly into line with the services provided in other countries;
Increase the UK Trade and Investment’s focus on emerging markets and launch: a new online service offering access to sales leads around the world; a new online peer-to-peer exchange to enable companies to help themselves and help each other; and a new high profile award for companies which are ready to export, but need encouragement to take the next step.
Lobby European partners to radically improve the regulatory environment in the Single Market for SMEs - including exempting SMEs from unnecessary EU regulation such as certain accounting requirements.
The Paper also sets out an ambitious range of other actions to help secure a strong, sustainable and open global economy that benefits all nations, including:
Working to **finalise the Doha round of trade negotiations **delivering a £110bn boost per year to the global economy. 2011 is the make or break year;
Pursuing **an ambitious programme of EU Free Trade Agreements **with key trading partners including India, Canada, Singapore, the South American Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) and hopefully also Japan;
**Assisting developing countries to benefit from trade and investment **by pushing for global trade rules that support their needs, promoting greater market access for Least Developed Countries and implementing ambitious bilateral aid programmes that promote trade and regional integration, particularly in Africa;
Resisting protectionism, championing open markets, and **pushing back the remaining trade and investment barriers **within the European Single Market and the wider world.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“Trade and inward investment are key drivers of growth - they are fundamental to rebuilding and rebalancing our economy.
“Improving the finance and insurance products that oil the wheels of trade, exempting SMEs from unnecessary EU regulation, an ambitious programme of Free Trade Agreements, finalising the Doha round - these are practical measures to help drive growth.”
Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, said:
“Trade is the greatest wealth creator known to man. Free trade drives growth which in turn gives people in developing countries the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.
“The Trade and Investment White Paper marks a redoubling of the UK Government’s efforts to enable developing countries to follow their own paths to growth through trade and investment.
“Trade will become a central theme across our bilateral aid programme, particularly in Africa, helping developing countries tackle the obstacles that prevent them from making the most of trading opportunities.”