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New international trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced the start of discussions on a new export and investment partnership between UK and Italy to boost trade.

She made the announcement alongside Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio in Sorrento during a trip to Italy for the G20, her first international summit since taking the role.

The Department for International Trade says the dialogue will boost exports for companies in high-performing sectors like life sciences, defence and security, plus growth sectors such as digital and tech.

It will also promote inward investment, including in low-carbon industries such as onshore and offshore wind, hydrogen, and carbon capture storage, plus the food and drink industry and tech sector.

Win-win situation

“Enhancing our bilateral relationship with Italy is a win-win, which will boost export opportunities and investment promotion for our businesses.” said Trevelyan.

“The UK and Italy are also working side-by-side to deliver a successful COP26 Summit. The next 18 months are critical for our planet and together we will lead by example to accelerate progress towards a green, resilient and inclusive recovery.”

Regular engagement between both the governments will include annual ministerial talks and will lead to innovative commercial partnerships and stronger ties between UK and Italian CEOs.

The talks will focus on collaboration and sharing of best practice between the two countries’ export credit organisations – UK Export Finance and the Italian Export Credit Agency.

Italy is the world’s eighth-largest economy and trade between the UK and Italy was worth over £34bn last year, reports City AM.

Cars, clothes and produce

Popular British products exported to Italy last year included cars worth £829m – equivalent to 10% of all UK goods exported to Italy – and £383m worth of medicinal and pharmaceutical products.

British consumers bought £1.2bn worth of Italian clothing last year and imported £860m worth of beverages and £641m worth of fruit and vegetables.

At the meeting of G20 trade ministers on Tuesday, Trevelyan called on other countries to respect free and fair trade practices.

 “We cannot and will not allow British businesses who play by the rules to be damaged and undercut by market-distorting practices from other countries,” she said.

In an interview with Reuters Trevelyan said she hopes the UK will assume membership of Asian trade bloc CPTPP next year but that there is no timetable for talks on a trade deal with the US.