Midlands Businesses Join Consultation with UK Government on the Future UK-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
16 September 2020
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Today, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) from across the Midlands joined a BritishAmerican Business (BAB) virtual roundtable discussion with the UK Minister of State for Trade Policy, Greg Hands MP, as part of a series of consultations carried out by the Department for International Trade (DIT) in partnership with BAB about the role that UK-U.S. trade and investment plays in local economies.
The meeting provided the opportunity for Midlands-based businesses to provide direct feedback to Minister Hands on their UK-U.S. trade and investment stories. Representatives from businesses including Lucideon Group Ltd., LBG Medical, and Brennan Industries discussed the barriers the currently face when exporting, importing, and investing in the U.S., where they see opportunities to grow their businesses in the U.S., and how a UK-U.S. Free Trade Agreement should work to their benefit.
Tony Kinsella, Chief Executive, Lucideon Group Ltd said:
“I am delighted to have been a part of this consultation with BAB and the DIT, to share our experience with fellow SMEs in the Midlands, and help more businesses take the journey.
“The USA is our major market and will become the largest part of our Group business in the next 5 years. We invested in an acquisition in 2007, to give us a base to start from – and that has been a key part of our ability to assimilate and grow. I am very much in favour of the UK having a comprehensive FTA with the USA”
Businesses in the Midlands export £18,900 of goods to the United States every minute, or £9.9bn each year, with 5,725 businesses exporting to the U.S., and 6,239 importing from the U.S. in 2019. Indicative estimates show that a Free Trade Agreement with the United States could bring a £661bn boost to The Midlands in the long-run, and lower tariffs on important Midlands industries such as Automotive Engineering or Advanced Manufacturing.
SMEs make up 99.9% of all businesses in the UK, contributing £2.2tr to the UK economy every year. A UK-U.S. FTA can remove, lower or simplify trade barriers for the 31,600 SMEs that already export to the United States, and open up the market for SMEs with transatlantic ambitions.
Greg Hands, Minister of State for Trade Policy said:
“I was delighted to kick-off the first of a series of British American Business roundtables, where today businesses across the East and West Midlands shared their stories about trading with the U.S.
“A trade deal can make exporting easier for the 5,700 Midlands businesses currently trading with the U.S., and estimates show an ambitious deal could boost the economy in the East and West Midlands by £298m and £363m respectively in the long run, which can create better jobs and increase wages across the region.
“Their experiences are vital in helping us ensure our trade policy is tailor-made to the needs of British businesses, and to encourage even more Midlands businesses to start trading with the US for the first time.”
Emanuel Adam, Executive Director London, Director of Policy & Trade, BritishAmerican Business said:
“BAB has a long-standing reputation for making trade discussions local, specific, and tangible. We are honoured that we have been given the opportunity to work with the DIT on this special initiative, which we hope will make a true difference for the companies, involved, the wider SME community in the UK, and the communities that they are part of.”
The consultation series will see the Minister also sit down with SMEs in in other regions across the UK throughout September and October.
A report summarising the input received from this consultation will be available afterwards.
About BritishAmerican Business
BritishAmerican Business is the leading transatlantic trade association created as a result of the merger between the British-American Chamber of Commerce in the US and the American Chamber of Commerce in the UK.
We are committed to strengthening the economic corridor between the United States and the United Kingdom by supporting policies and actions that protect and enhance the environment for transatlantic trade and investment on behalf of our members.
We convene and serve a growing network of companies and business leaders through networking opportunities, bespoke programming and marketing platforms.
We actively promote trade and investment and support those who make the transatlantic corridor part of their business growth ambition.