Senior trade policymakers and business leaders from a cross-section of the UK’s leading exporting companies gathered in Westminster last night (30 November) to discuss opportunities and challenges facing UK businesses.
Convened by the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT), this Trade Dinner was hosted by Conservative MP for Milton Keynes North, Ben Everitt, with guests including Andrew Bowie, minister for exports and IOE&IT director general, Marco Forgione.
The dinner was an example of how IOE&IT works to provide policymakers a coal-face view of trade through its members, including senior leaders from Core, Barclays, Mitsubishi, Santander, Sun Seeker and others. All the business members present offered the minister their views on the challenges they face every day on the front line of international trade.
Topics discussed at the dinner ranged from boosting exports through innovation and new ideas, including the exporting of excess hydrogen power, to addressing the ongoing challenges of trading with the EU.
Echoing international trade secretary Kemi Badenoch, Andrew Bowie commented that the Department for International Trade (DIT) is committed to exploring a variety of options and instruments to allow British businesses to trade more freely and effectively.
He noted that while free trade agreements are helpful, there are also other ways of enabling trade, and DIT is actively exploring all options.
Minister Bowie also delivered a resounding and unequivocal call to businesses everywhere to “speak up”. He urged attendees to share their experiences in international trade with the IOE&IT, who will collate and communicate action points to the Minister and DIT.
Forgione agreed that IOE&IT was delighted to fulfil this critical role as a “trusted interlocuter between government and the wider business community”.
There was some amusement when, introducing the minister, Everitt slipped up and said he was particularly pleased to welcome Bowie – who is Scottish – to the dinner “as today is St Patrick’s Day”. It was, of course, St Andrew’s Day. The slip became a running joke throughout the evening.
The event was sponsored by Core, an IOE&IT business member and a supplier of leading global digital supply chain technology.