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Board of Trade meets in Preston

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International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox chairs Board of Trade meeting at UCLan as UK marks one year until Brexit

  • Board of Trade Awards also launched, celebrating the success of top performing companies of all sizes from across the UK.
  • Dr Fox to open new university social space with 'Ideas Hack'.

Since July 2016, the Department for International Trade has helped UK companies to start or grow their exports, securing thousands of deals and, in the last year alone, has created 64,000 new jobs and safeguarded a further 28,000 by attracting investment into the UK.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox will launch the National Trade Academy Programme and Board of Trade Awards at the second meeting of the revamped Board of Trade at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) today.

The National Trade Academy Programme will offer a variety of new learning opportunities to upskill and engage students, businesses and academics. Building international trade and investment related skills and knowledge across the UK, the Programme will help foster a culture of exporting through a broad range of initiatives. As part of the Programme, Dr Fox will open a new social space at UCLan, which will host the first ever Board of Trade ‘Ideas Hack’. Around 45 students from across the UK will take part in a challenge to design a food and drink product and its export strategy.

Dr Fox will also recognise companies which have shown exceptional performance in international trade through the new Board of Trade Awards. A hallmark of British quality, these awards will become a globally-recognised certificate of excellence, shown on product labels of successful businesses of every size and from every corner of the UK.

Given that the University is re-doubling its efforts to support the economic, social and cultural development of Preston and the wider Lancashire region it is with great pride that we host this Board of Trade meeting.

Four Board of Trade Awards winners will be announced today: engineering group Arup (North West), The Anglesey Sea Salt Company – Halen Môn (North Wales), bird feed and fish bait producers John E Haith (Haith's) (Yorkshire and the Humber) and Blue Kangaroo Design, a Gateshead-based creative agency which has worked with the biggest names in the toy, entertainment and licensing industry including the likes of Universal Studios, Hasbro and the Walt Disney Company (North East).

All winners of the award must be headquartered and registered in the UK and have demonstrated outstanding contribution to international trade and investment.

The UK’s trading performance continues to improve.

Since its creation following the EU referendum, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has helped thousands of UK companies to start or grow their exports. Last year alone, DIT helped British businesses secure nearly 10,000 deals, worth tens of billions of pounds in exports and attracted 1,859 investment projects – creating 64,000 new jobs and safeguarding a further 28,000, while planning the UK’s future trade policy.

Speaking ahead of the Board of Trade meeting in Preston, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “The North West is a region steeped in rich industrial history built on international trade, and it is therefore only fitting that the Board of Trade is meeting here in Preston.

“As the UK’s international economic department, DIT is creating the global appetite for British goods and services, and attracting record investment into the UK. Today we are celebrating those companies who have demonstrated exceptional innovation, generating prosperity for their local communities.

“Inspiring and educating the next generation of British exporters is equally important, and our new National Trade Academy Programme will help secure jobs, growth and prosperity for the future, and help make the UK a global trading nation once again.”

As we look ahead to Brexit we need the whole country to be as strong as it can be, and the continued success of Northern Powerhouse trade and exports will play a vital role in this.

UCLan Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board David Taylor said: “Given that the University is re-doubling its efforts to support the economic, social and cultural development of Preston and the wider Lancashire region it is with great pride that we host this Board of Trade meeting.

“We have a great story to tell about our contribution to skills development in areas such as engineering, health, business and the creative industries; disciplines which are critical to Lancashire’s prosperity. The day also represents a superb opportunity for students with an entrepreneurial flare to learn from the country’s best business leaders and help influence the next wave of UK enterprises.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry said: “With its exports now worth almost £60bn to the British economy, the Northern Powerhouse is recognised across the world as a great place to do business with.

“I’m delighted therefore that the second Board of Trade meeting is being held in Preston - a recognition of just how much our region has to offer.

“As we look ahead to Brexit we need the whole country to be as strong as it can be, and the continued success of Northern Powerhouse trade and exports will play a vital role in this."

Today’s Board of Trade meeting takes place against a backdrop of growing exports in all regions of the UK. Latest HMRC figures show that the North West is home to more than 13,000 exporters totalling almost £29bn in exports of goods alone in 2017.

Recent inward investment figures also show foreign firms are taking notice, with 147 new inward investment projects last year, creating more than 6,500 new jobs and safeguarding a further 3,000 jobs across the North West.

Press Office | 29 March 2018