Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has asked the Government a series of Parliamentary Questions concerning international trade to uncover what steps the Government is taking to prepare the UK for its departure from the European Union.
They have shone a light on a series of actions being taken by the Government to utilise technology and diplomatic relations to promote international trade and enable businesses to make the most of the new opportunities that withdrawing from the European Union’s Customs Union will bring.
On Wednesday 18th October Adam asked the Department for International Development for an update on the work being made to ensure the UK continues to promote development in Commonwealth countries (11:49:26 to 11:51:10):
International Development Questions, 18th October:
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): 6. What steps she is taking to promote development in other Commonwealth countries.
Rory Stewart (Minister of State for International Development) (Joint with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The Prime Minister and Secretary of State have made it clear that the Commonwealth is absolutely central to our future policy, and that is not just true in respect of forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings; the 20 largest DFID recipient countries include Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Sierra Leone, in which our programmes extend from health and education, to economic development, without which there can be no jobs or growth.
On Tuesday 11th July Adam asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for an update on what the Government is doing to strengthen Britain’s diplomatic relations with foreign countries (12:28:50 – 12:29:30):
Foreign and Commonwealth Questions, 11th July:
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): It is striking that Commonwealth countries trade 25% more with each other at a cost that is 19% lower than with non-Commonwealth countries. Does the Minister agree that, as we leave the EU, we have a great opportunity to boost our mutual trade and security interests by enhancing our diplomatic relations with Ghana and other Commonwealth countries?
Rory Stewart MP (Minister for Africa): I pay tribute to my hon. Friend, who is our Trade Envoy to Ghana. Ghana is one of the most impressive recent developments in Africa, with three recent transitions of democratic power and a rapidly growing economy. It is a huge example of how the Commonwealth can become one of the great success stories of Britain’s next five years, as we move towards the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has welcomed recently announced figures that have shown a growing appetite for foreign firms and individuals to invest in Britain’s growing economy.
In the last financial year, over 100,000 jobs were created or safeguarded through Foreign Direct Investment and Britain remained the largest source of inward investment in Europe.
This week the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade out of Poverty (APPG-TOP) launched its Final Report into its inquiry on the UK’s Africa Free Trade Initiative (AFTi).
The AFTi was started in 2011 by the Government to explore ways to help African countries integrate into the world trade system. For the last five years it has provided support to both individual African governments and regional integration efforts, as well as informing various British Government Departments in their interactions with African governments to improving trade conditions in Africa.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the AFTi the APPG-TOP launched an inquiry to assess the progress and achievements of the AFTi so far. The Final Report also contains more recommendations to improve trade within Africa and with the rest of the world through cutting barriers to trade, improving infrastructure and encouraging greater use of technology to increase Africa’s participation in the digital economy.
The Final Report into the AFTi has also noted that Britain’s recent referendum on leaving the European Union has strengthened the arguments for deepening the partnership between the UK and Africa on trade, investment and development.
The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the new report:
“Trade, not aid, is the silver bullet to helping developing countries create wealth and build a path to prosperity to the living standards we enjoy in the western world.
“The AFTi has greatly contributed to the discussion on reducing trade barriers within and to trading with Africa and I hope that these recommendations on cutting tariffs and dissolving the red tape that gums up trade are taken on board.
“The inquiries’ focus on technology and the digital economy is of particular interest because the UK has significant strengths in this area that can assist African participation through mutually beneficial trade partnerships.
“As the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana, I greatly look forward to the post-Brexit opportunities to build a non-discriminatory immigration system outside the EU, strike trade deals with fast growing economies and pursue closer links across the globe.”
- Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
- He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
- He is currently Chairman of the Fintech APPG, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).
- He was shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.
- The Final Report can be viewed on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade out of Poverty here.