Black Country trade with Australia encouraged
The Australian High Commissioner has praised the resilience of Black Country businesses in coping with the coronavirus crisis.
George Brandis joined Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb for an online meeting with the region's business leaders organised by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce to promote international trade.
He praised the Black Country’s resilience when it came to Covid-19 and said that the region can substantially benefit from a UK-Australia free trade agreement.
Mr Brandis added that the region has a proud industrial heritage of exporting goods and products around the world and Australia wants to benefit from the local expertise here.
The UK and Australian governments have set out their ambitions for a free trade deal to be agreed in principle, meaning an end to tariffs and making it easier for more businesses to export to Australia and open up new customer markets.
He said the Black Country’s blend of manufacturing and professional services makes it one of the best-placed regions in the country to benefit from a UK-Australia free trade deal.
Ms Webb said that she will continue to push for ‘export champions’ across the Black Country, working with the chamber to support businesses ensuring that they are best placed to take advantage of the trade deals
“The UK is a newly emerging independent trading nation and it is important we engage with local businesses as they have a key role to play in this.
“The Black Country Chamber of Commerce will also play its part by continuing to provide strong support to local businesses. Under the cloud of a certain recession, we need to fire up the West Midlands engines, explore new markets, using the great evangelism of entrepreneurship and we must do this by working together and exploring all opportunities," she explained.
Australia is the Black Country’s fifth largest export market by total number of export wins with a total of £33m worth of goods exported there. The West Midlands is also the highest performing trading region in the UK to Australia with approximately 2.5 per cent of all the region's exports heading to the Australian market.
Chamber chief executive Corin Crane said: “This webinar event with George Brandis was incredibly timely and allowed businesses to further understand the opportunities available to them through a UK-AUS Free Trade Agreement.
“Local businesses have got a lot to plan for at the moment – preparing for changes to our European importing and exporting rules, fluctuating currency rates, recession and of course, Covid-19, therefore identifying opportunities to trade with Australia will allow them to explore new markets for their products and services whilst sharing their knowledge and expertise across the globe.”
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