Brexit: UK imports and exports evaluated by expert
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Darren Henry spoke of the vast options available for businesses in the UK looking to export abroad as he made a passionate case for Britain re-establishing its links with around the world. In 2019 Britain signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement to roll over trade arrangements with Caribbean countries that Britain was covered by while a member of the EU.
Since October last year the MP for Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire has been helping forge new links for firms with the 12 Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean to make the most of the UK’s freedom.
He said: “We’ve been with the European Union all this time, 40 years, and there was a possibility of drifting apart.
“Given that we’re such a great cultural heritage, common law, and language that we shared, this UK free trade agreement with the Caribbean really says that we’re back to work with them on trade and improve our relationship going forwards.”
Britain is respected as a high-quality “brand”, Mr Henry said, as he outlined how some sectors were already boosting trade in the region.
As well as products, he outlined how the UK’s renowned reputation for services provided export opportunities.
He said: “Scotch whisky is a well-known brand, for example. we do a lot with the food and drink sector with them.
“But we’re also involved in education, infrastructure, engineering and technology, cyber security, so there’s a lot of investment in services, research and development and renewable energy.”
With his mum coming from Trinidad and Tobago, and his father from Jamaica, Mr Henry spoke passionately about the markets available to British firms in the Caribbean.
“My number one aim is to get UK businesses to realise the Caribbean is there,” he told this website.
“Tourism is one market but they’re not just a place to go on holiday, it’s a place to do business.
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“We’ve got some industry and SMEs that would be happy to go along and look at the Caribbean markets, so it’s about letting them know it’s out there, and then, hands off, let them do what they do.”
Since taking on his role as trade envoy, he said efforts by the Department for International Trade has already led to “export wins of over £3million for health care and food and drink sectors”.
“It does make a statement that we’re back and we’re really willing to engage with the Caribbean,” he said, describing the achievement as “fantastic”.
But Mr Henry said it’s not just UK businesses who will benefit from trade with the Caribbean.
The MP explained following Brexit, new markets for imports has opened up across the globe and businesses in the Caribbean would need to compete for UK customers.
He said the increased competition could lead to cheaper imports for Brits.
Mr Henry said there were plenty of countries looking to boost their trading relationships with the Caribbean and Brexit had provided a chance for the UK to place extra focus on the region to help secure British links.
He said: “One particular country stands out, and that’s Giayna, as a golden opportunity to do something and work with to build a relationship with, and from them to select the UK over other countries.
“Canada, France, China, have all got interests there but we’d like them to chose Britain first.”
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