Four major new trade and investment hubs will be established in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North-East of England to boost trade and investment and level up the country, UK international trade secretary announced yesterday. Exporters will have a direct feed into UK trade policy and can take more advantage of opportunities in fast-growing markets like the Indo-Pacific region.
The trade hubs in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and a new second major department of international trade (DIT) site in Darlington will be established as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK, including benefits from future free trade agreements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand, according to an official release.
The trade hubs will also create a critical link between the regions and the resources of the Office For Investment—a joint initiative with the Prime Minister’s Office—to channel investment money into every UK nation and region.
The trade hubs will be home to teams of export and investment specialists, who can provide businesses with expert support and advice to help them maximise their export potential and boost their trade in new markets overseas, better access major trade markets like India, the United States and Japan, and feed directly into DIT’s free trade agreements programme, the press release said.
Earlier this month, government-led research showed exports support 6.5 million jobs across the United Kingdom, 74 per cent of which are outside London. The research estimates jobs directly and indirectly supported by exports pay around 7 per cent higher than the national median, with Office for National Statistics estimating that goods exporting businesses are also 21 per cent more productive.
The new trade hubs will also support the launch of high-profile export campaigns due to launch later this year, that will seek to maximise export potential and boost UK enterprise in global markets, following the recent launch of the food and drink export campaign. Last year, goods exports from the North of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland were £98.4 billion.