Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) Lord Marland has been quoted in a recent article in The Guardian, where he discussed CWEIC’s inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting, UK SME exporters and also gave his thoughts on the future of Britain as a trading nation.
Marland was speaking to the paper ahead of CWEIC’s inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ meeting in March where he explained that workshops between trade ministers and chief executives would revolve around “financial services, ease of doing business, technology and innovation, business and sustainability, creating an export economy and attracting investment” – not Britain’s exit from the EU.
Nevertheless, Marland noted that strengthening ties with the Commonwealth after it leaves the EU was a “no brainer,” but that the UK would have to work hard at building relationships across the Commonwealth to reap maximum benefits.
This would be made easier by the “significant footprint” the UK has made on these countries, said Marland, referring to legal systems in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada being similar to those in the UK, the common language, and straightforward travel and flight connections.
Marland also noted the troubling lack of small businesses in the UK that export – only 21% according to the most recent figures from the Federation of Small Businesses.
This is why CWEIC has recently launched CommonwealthFirst to support UK SMEs. Over the next three years, 100 small businesses will be chosen to become Commonwealth “Export Champions” and given training, mentoring and development support to win new business internationally.
Lord Marland sounded a positive note about the UK’s trading prospects going forward: “I want the UK to get its mindset around the fact we’re in an incredibly strong position. We’re a massive market for the Germans, as we are for the French … we’ve got a very good skills base, we’ve got a great education system … from an intelligence base, we’re one of two global leaders.”
To read the full article, please go here.