Industrial strategy ideas discussed at IOE and IT meeting with shadow secretary for business and trade

Thu 14 Dec 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Jonathan Ryenolds with Marco Forgione

A shared desire for the UK to have a new, comprehensive and joined-up industrial strategy featured in discussions between the head of the UK’s leading membership body for internationally trading businesses and the shadow secretary for business and trade.

Marco Forgione, the director general at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), met with Jonathan Reynolds MP of Labour yesterday (13 December) in London.

The IOE&IT’s UK public affairs lead, Grace Thompson, who was also in attendance, said it was an important meeting ahead of next year’s likely general election.

“It was great to meet yesterday with the shadow secretary of state for business and trade, Jonathan Reynolds.

“We’ve been encouraged, for some time, by Reynolds’ enthusiasm for creating a new UK industrial strategy. IOE&IT has been advocating the merits of having a comprehensive framework which includes both an import and export strategy. Such a framework could encapsulate both the need to encourage more businesses to export whilst also ensuring supply chains into the UK are more resilient.

“We will be continuing to represent the views of our members and the wider trade industry in our dialogue with the major political parties ahead of next year’s general election and beyond.”

MSME focus

Thompson added that the strategy also needs to have a focus on supporting more micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to enter trade and broadening the scope of opportunities such as e-commerce trade for MSMEs.

She said that IOE&IT was already engaging with Labour, in a wide variety of ways, on support for MSMEs. She also attended an awards dinner for the ‘SME4Labour’ group on Tuesday this week, having been well-connected with the group through previous events, such as Labour Conference.

Marco Forgione, Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade spoke on a panel, hosted by SME4Labour, at the Labour Conference in September. The panel explored how to enable British SMEs to access Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets. Forgione advocated for a comprehensive industrial strategy to boost e-commerce solutions and emphasised the potential of a UK sovereign wealth fund to cultivate trade relations with the MENA region.

Starmer speech

Although much of the political discourse this week was dominated by the significant vote on Rishi Sunak’s immigration bill on Monday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer did make a significant speech in Buckinghamshire on Tuesday.

The speech was largely billed as an address to the so-called former ‘Red Wall’ voters that switched to the Conservative Party in the 2019 election.

He said that the next election will be about “something deeper… than the usual competing visions” and promised that a Labour government would usher in a “decade of national renewal”, the Guardian reported.