Lincolnshire has exciting opportunities to trade far and wide in the future
Column by Gareth Davies, MP for Grantham and Stamford
As regular readers of my column will know, I believe there are great opportunities ahead for our county, but it is vital that we see more investment in our infrastructure, in our people and in our towns. One of the ways we can prosper as a county is for our many local businesses to be able to branch out and trade across the world, and to do this our government needs to forge ambitious new trade deals.
Fortunately, a major step took place this week with a breakthrough trade deal between the UK and Japan signed and sealed. It will ensure 99 per cent of our country’s exports to Japan are completely tariff-free. With one in ten small exporters hoping to sell to the Japanese market, this trade deal will deliver in creating new jobs at a time we need them most.
Government estimates suggest it will boost trade by £15.2 billion and increase wages by £800 million.
This is not Britain’s first, or last trading success. We have already created agreements with over 20 countries or trading blocs, whilst over 19 more trade deals are being negotiated as we speak. We have also signed mutual recognition agreements with America, New Zealand and Australia, ensuring that we all recognise the regulatory standards of each other’s goods. This means that we will prevent low quality goods from coming to Britain, for example protecting our high food standards. I was delighted to see the NFU support our trade deal with Japan and the opportunities it will bring.
Yesterday, I was delighted to welcome the Minister of International Trade to our constituency to showcase some of our local manufacturers and to discuss growth opportunities for Lincolnshire. Of course we have a long history of innovation and industrial creation here in Lincolnshire. 500 years ago we bred and sold the Lincoln Longwool sheep, with the longest wool of any sheep in the world. 100 years ago, it was in Lincolnshire that we designed the first ever tank. Two innovative exports that went far and wide!
Today Lincolnshire is still innovating and exporting. We export £3 billion a year, equivalent to 14 per cent of our economy. Fifty per cent of these exports are in the cutting edge fields of manufacturing and chemicals. We are in many ways a global county, selling from Egypt to India. Trade deals in countries far away, matter here at home.
With a great history of innovation and export before us, I am excited to see that Britain and Lincolnshire are eager for the opportunities ahead.