Yesterday, Labour announced a new era of ‘economic diplomacy’ at the Trade Unlocked conference in Birmingham.
Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy and Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Nick Thomas-Symonds addressed hundreds of industry leaders from businesses of all sizes, from all parts of the economy, who met at the conference in a bid to influence trade policy before the next general election.
In his address, Lammy announced a new era of ‘economic diplomacy’ which will reappraise the UK’s ‘diplomatic footprint in the fastest growing economies’ and see Britain boost representation in countries essential to supply chains and industries of the future.
Lammy doubled-down on Labour’s commitment to improving Britain’s economic and security relationship with the European Union and criticised the Government’s failure to address the UK’s economic vulnerabilities in a changing geopolitical environment.
Trade Unlocked is an interactive conference which draws on the expertise and experience of all delegates to find solutions to the challenges of the current trading environment and opportunities for the decade ahead.
Trade Unlocked was organised with support from more than 50 businesses and trade bodies including the British Chambers of Commerce and International Chambers of Commerce.
The conference was hosted by broadcaster Ayesha Hazarika and featured notable speakers including former UK ambassador to the US Lord Kim Darroch, founder of Cobra Beer Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of the International Chambers of Commerce Paul Drechsler, former Chief Executive of Siemens Jurgen Maier, plus senior spokespeople from Bosch, Santander, HSBC, PwC, EY and KPMG, and more.
Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain which is organising Trade Unlocked 2023 said,
“Traders know what they need from Government policy to succeed. That’s why Trade Unlocked is bringing hundreds of them together with the explicit intention of influencing party manifesto pledges on business and industry.
“We are looking forward to hearing what Labour intend to do differently should they win the next election and hope they take this opportunity to listen to what businesses have to say. It is disappointing that despite several invitations, the Government has not sent a spokesperson to address this critical conference.”
Juergen Maier, Former Chief Executive of Siemens and Chair of the Trade Unlocked 2023 Organising Committee said,
“The next general election presents a chance to influence election manifestos and set a course to reverse economic stagnation with sustained economic growth’’
“We simply cannot afford another decade of lost growth which could relegate the UK to being a second rate economy. UK business is much better than that, and this is a conference to influence, learn, innovate and trade more to raise economic output, productivity and living standards’’