Andy Street: West Midlands can take advantage of Australian trade
The West Midlands can take advantage of 'major opportunities' to increase trade with Australia once Britain leaves the EU, according to the region's mayor.
Andy Street has gone Down Under to see how Australia runs the Commonwealth Games ahead of Birmingham's hosting of the event in 2022.
But as part of his trip he will also be meeting with potential Aussie investors in the West Midlands – with one eye firmly on trading opportunities post-Brexit.
The Tory mayor will pitch the region to wealthy Queensland investors at a meeting in Brisbane.
He will also meet a number of big Aussie corporations in Sydney who already invest in the UK, including M6 Toll owners IFM.
Mr Street said: "Our aim is to go to the top of these organisations and see what their strategy is for investment to the UK.
"The first priority is making sure that our manufacturers here in the West Midlands are able to maintain access to EU trading arrangements, so the new trade deal that is going to be negotiated by central government is crucial.
"We have to keep the current levels of business with countries like Australia in perspective, against the vast amounts of business that are done with the main European countries.
"Having said that, I do think there are more opportunities to be had in a number of Commonwealth countries.
"Given the similarities between Britain and Australia in terms of economic development there are certainly major opportunities for trade.
"If you look at their tech sector in particular, we want their tech companies to invest here.
"We want to make sure the West Midlands is in their thoughts."
Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, recently spoke out about the benefits of Britain leaving the customs union, saying it would enable Australia to ‘build back’ its trade with Britain.
Meanwhile, Mr Street said he was 'very confident' that the West Midlands could thrive post-Brexit following an 'encouraging' meeting with Brexit Secretary David Davis last week.