The Week Ahead in International Trade: Sunak speech, European summit and tech probe deadline

Mon 2 Oct 2023
Posted by: Benjamin Roche
Features

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A busy week beckons in trade, as the Conservative Party Conference continues today (2 October) with a speech from business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch.

Labour takes the spotlight on Sunday, when shadow deputy prime minister Angela Rayner will take the stage.

The Daily Update will be reporting on the trade-related developments at both conferences, including the IOE&IT’s own activities in both Manchester and Liverpool.

The PM speaks: Wednesday gets top billing with prime minister Rishi Sunak set to speak, having been interviewed by BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg over the weekend. He defended his government’s changed plans on net zero, something which he says the UK is still on track to achieve by 2050, but which have sparked discontent from some businesses.

Spain squabble: Sunak’s week doesn’t let up on Thursday, when he’ll be in sunny Granada for the European Political Community Summit. Discussions were already heating up on the meeting last week, when Sunak tried to put illegal migration top of the agenda while hosts Spain wanted to focus on graduate mobility, AI and Ukraine.

Solar struggle: The summit’s attendees are already under the microscope on the environment, reports the FT, with little focus apparently being afforded to climate change. SolarPower Europe, a solar industry body, is also due to put out a statement discouraging tariffs on Chinese imports in what it believes will be a “lose-lose” for manufacturers.

“The discussion is mounting and some people are calling for trade measures, so we felt it necessary to warn about what the consequences would be,” Walburga Hemetsberger, SolarPower Europe’s chief executive, said to the FT.

That’s not the only meeting taking place in Spain this week, however, as Madrid hosts the Climate and Energy Summit, which will see industry, finance and government figures convene to seek cooperation on net zero.

Competition countdown: Thursday is a major date in the UK cultural export calendar with ‘Global James Bond Day’, but Microsoft and Amazon may be left shaken rather than stirred with Ofcom set to deliver a report on “practices and features that could limit competition” in cloud computing by the two internet giants.

The regulator referred the duo to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in April, and the report could reopen the issue of the CMA’s rejection of the recent attempt by Microsoft to acquire Activision – something Microsoft president Brad Smith dubbed “bad for Britain”.

Webinar: On Wednesday the IOE&IT will be hosting a webinar on the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), with an updated overview of the risk categorisations for SPS-controlled goods.

Other dates for the diary:

  • Monday: Liz Truss speaks at Conservative fringe event
  • Tuesday: OECD Going for Growth report
  • Wednesday: UK Services PMI
  • Thursday: Car sales figures released by SMMT
  • Friday: Green and Plaid Cymru party conferences begin
  • Sunday: Labour Party Conference begins