Lord Price – 2016 Speech in New York

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Below is the text of the speech made by Lord Price, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, in New York on 26 July 2016.

I am delighted to be in the United States.

My meetings started yesterday in Washington, including with Michael Froman – the US Trade Representative – to talk about the possible shape of UK/US trade deals.

I am also pleased to be in New York. The purpose of my visit here is to reassure investors. I started with an appearance on Bloomberg GO this morning.

And now I am here in this iconic building to speak to you.

Thank you Thomson Reuters for hosting us today.

Paul Reuter, who founded Reuters News Agency was actually quite the pioneer in his day. He famously used carrier pigeons to fly stock prices between Aachen and Brussels in the 1840s. As telegraph cables grew in popularity, sadly, but rather inevitably, the pigeons faced redundancy.

However, there is a serious point here. The need to adapt to changing external circumstances is a theme I will return to later in this speech.

Essential as well as special

But first I’d like to touch on the relationship between the UK and America.

Our ties have been forged over hundreds years of shared struggle and sacrifice but also of huge economic and cultural progress.

We do business together – as you can see from the audience here today; we collaborate in music, art, and film – think Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart; our diplomatic and intelligence teams work hand in glove to safeguard our mutual interests; and we both believe in democracy, rule of law and free trade.

Churchill was absolutely right when – in 1946, at the appropriately named Westminster College, Missouri – he proclaimed our special relationship to the world. And it is still as relevant now as it was 70 years ago.

President Obama, on his most recent trip to the UK, reiterated that Britain ‘remains a friend and ally to the United States like no other.’

However, what I want to tell you all today is that, in my eyes, the relationship is now even more ‘essential’ as well as ‘special’.

Let me explain why.

UK/USA

It is essential that we build on our already strong economic ties.

And the UK’s new Secretary of State for International Trade – Liam Fox – and I are both here in the United States to ensure we work with our American counterparts to lay the groundwork for the future.

Nearly USD 1trillion worth of mutual investment makes us each other’s largest investor, and each other’s largest foreign job creator.

We are the single most popular destination for US overseas investment. And UK companies here in the US support around 1 million American jobs.

The US is the UK’s largest single trading partner and is the destination for 20% of all UK exports.

What I am particularly proud of is the success of our gin, wine and beer exports. It seems the Americans, like us Brits, like nothing more than kicking back with few gin and tonics or a pint of Yorkshire ale.

Exports of our favourite beverages to the US reached a record £361 million last year, as Americans guzzled down more than 220 million pints of ale, including from Yorkshire’s Ilkley Brewery and Aberdeenshire’s Brew Dog.

Business is a force for good

This is important because I believe there is an inextricable link between the success of people in this room and the strength of our society and economy.

When UK businesses export more and more investment flows to the UK, jobs are created and livelihoods are transformed.

In fact it is business that collects the majority of taxes for the government that go onto fund our schools, hospitals and national defence.

I truly believe that business is a force for good. That is the main reason why I joined government – to help create the conditions so businesses can flourish.

And government is doing some exciting things to show that when it comes to trade and investment – the UK is open for business.

Investment

Let’s take investment first.

I want to thank the investors in the room here today for your continued support of UK economy. Since 2010, investment such as yours has created over 300,000 jobs in the UK.

We have a strong rule of law, which is essential for businesses that want stability to plan for the future.

Our financial services sector has seen £100 billion worth of investment poured in since 2007.

Our corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the G20 and are set to get even lower. And the relaxing of our previous fiscal rules will mean we can invest even more to create a competitive business environment.

And hailing from the north myself, I am a big champion of the potential and talent of our great northern cities. People rightly see London as a financial and cultural powerhouse – but when we say the UK is open for business, we’re talking about all of it.

Exports

On exports, government is transforming the way we are helping UK companies seize the world of opportunity out there.

Our targets are ambitious. But the thing about bold goals is that they help focus the mind and challenge the way you’ve always done things. This is important because the UK is currently the sixth biggest exporter in the world – behind countries like China, the US and Germany.

We want to change this.

For the really high value export campaigns we have, for the first time, prioritised nearly 200 around the world. These could be worth up to £70 billion a year by 2020.

We will bring together the whole of government, industry and our extensive overseas network to help UK businesses win these deals.

For example, there are around 14 big ticket export campaigns forecast here in America we will focus on – including in defence, aerospace and life sciences.

We are also aiming to get 100,000 additional businesses exporting by 2020. To help us achieve this we are adopting a digital first approach.

This will build on our fantastic existing Exporting is GREAT campaign, which shows UK companies thousands of live export opportunities for which they can apply through a dedicated website.

For example, right now, New York is looking for British expertise to develop a city wide advertising programme; California wants our financial advisory services, and in Georgia, a company needs help to reduce its carbon footprint.

My message to all UK companies is that the demand really is out there …. and you’re only a click of a mouse away.

And the great news is that in November, we are taking this digital offer to the next level – creating a one stop shop for exporters in the UK.

Last week I met with 5 of the UK’s biggest banks to launch a unique UK Directory of Exporters. Potential customers and buyers from around the world will be able to search for UK companies which are ready to supply the products, services and skills they need. It is a world first.

Companies can register on this directory now via Exporting is GREAT website.

We are also partnering up with the world’s biggest e-market places so you can sell your products to customers around the world easily and our 50 campaign partners stand ready to help you with everything from logistics to insurance.

My point here is that strengthening trade and investment between our two countries is vital for both our economies. That is why our relationship is essential.

Referendum

You will have heard of the British people’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) and the subsequent change in government. This is another example of why our relationship is essential. Again, let me explain why.

I am conscious that there are people in this room who will be affected in some way by a UK exit, so I want to be as clear as possible.

Nothing changes immediately. For now, we are still full members of the EU, so goods and services will flow as freely as before.

Our economy has strong foundations. Over the past 6 years, we’ve worked hard to make Britain one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business. And we have no intention of seeing that change

The imperative now is to ensure we have a collective and unified view of the Britain we want in the future.

Firstly, we will need to negotiate a new deal with the EU. I want us to maintain as close a relationship as possible on trade with our European partners. We will also look to secure free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries around the world.

We have and will continue to engage UK businesses and American investors to help draw up the blueprints for what the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the rest of the world looks like.

I am eager to hear your views and work together so we can get the best possible deals for the UK and our international partners.

Above all, we need to see this as an exciting opportunity. In essence, we are starting from a blank piece of paper when it comes to trade deals. Freed from Brussels’ more bureaucratic tendencies we will be able to tackle any excessive red tape that can choke small businesses.

We will also be able to make our tax system even more competitive, helping local businesses to grow and attracting investment from overseas.

Awaiting us is an exciting prospect of continued trading relations with Europe, enhancing ties with our partners East and West, and using our geographical position to make the UK a super connected trading hub.

And it is by drawing on our essential relationship that the UK and the United States will lead the way in helping secure a more stable and prosperous world – through trade.

Department for International Trade

And I am delighted that our vision is already starting to take shape.

Governments are not usually known for being fast movers, but in the space of 4 weeks, the UK’s government structure has pivoted to ensure that trade is given the prominence it deserves – right at the heart of government.

The new department for International Trade will coordinate and implement trade and investment policy as well as negotiating free trade and market access deals around the world.

We will provide operational support for exports and facilitate inward and outward investment.

By bringing together trade promotion with policy, we will be able to better champion British business around the world.

And I will work closely with my cabinet colleagues in the Foreign Office and in the new Department for Exiting the EU, to ensure we take a whole of government approach in maintaining Britain’s status as a great trading nation.

Conclusion

Before I close, I want to leave you with this thought.

The UK has a strong economy: we remain a fantastic place to invest, and have plenty of innovative, successful businesses all of whom can draw on the support of the entire British government to help them succeed.

As we breakout on our own – forging a future that is centred on open trade – it is essential that we draw upon the support of our closest partner in the United States of America.

We have an opportunity here to forge even deeper ties between our 2 great nations and to do more business between ourselves and the rest of the world.

This opportunity to collaborate is similar to the one Churchill referred to in his 1946 Missouri speech.

He said: ‘Opportunity is here now, clear and shining for both our countries. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon us all the long reproaches of the after-time.’

That is why our relationship is not just special, but essential.

Thank you.

Lord Price – 2016 Speech on Chinese Investors

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Below is the text of the speech made by Lord Price, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, in Shanghai, China on 8 July 2016.

I’m delighted to be here in Shanghai where I’ve come to meet businesses and investors, in the run up to the G20 trade ministers’ meeting.

This lunch is about me hearing your views, as business representatives, on the business environment in China and the UK and what the UK government can do to help. I do want to talk about this but I think it’s best if I first put this in the context of the Referendum.

Referendum

I want to reassure businesses and investors that there will be no immediate change. For now, the UK is still a full member of the EU, and goods and services will still trade freely across borders.

Our economy has strong foundations. Over the past 6 years, we’ve worked hard to make Britain one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business.

The UK is and wants to be the most business friendly, open, dynamic and innovative economy in the world. That remains unchanged.

I’d like to talk to you about investment, and the positive messages I’ve been receiving from investors across Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. And then I’d like to tell you about why I think, through the new trade deals we now have the power to strike across the globe, the UK has the ability to create a second Elizabethan Golden Age of trade and investment.

Investment

But let me focus on investment first and foremost.

During this visit I’ve met with close to 100 Chinese investors – private and state owned – and the repeated message I’ve heard is one of commitment, enthusiasm and opportunity.

Forgive the long list, but to demonstrate the strength of continuing Chinese investor support for the UK I’d like to share some of the reassuring messages I’ve been hearing from investors I’ve met with over the past 4 days.

Fosun, China’s largest conglomerate have told me they are seeing opportunities to increase their investments in UK infrastructure and energy, following the referendum outcome.

Bailian, China’s largest retail group, is seeking to bring more British brands to China.

JD.com, one of the largest online shopping platforms in China and the world, is continuing to look at options for investing in China-UK e-commerce.

The Wanda Group, one of the biggest and most successful companies in China, told me they are now looking for further UK land and property investments.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission want to work with us to invest in the UK and help UK insurers gain access to the Chinese market.

The China National Nuclear Corporation remain fully committed to their reinvestment in UK nuclear new build programmes.

Bank of China remain enthusiastic about current and new UK investment.

In addition, Huawei have assured government that they will go ahead with their planned £1.3 billion UK investment, and before coming out to China I had a very positive meeting with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, who remain committed to continuing offshore oil investment in the UK.

And it’s easy to see why these investors are still bullish.

Our corporation tax is one of the lowest in the G20 – set to get even lower – and we can boast capability and expertise right across the UK, not just in London.

We are the number one destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe and according to EY, London is the European city most likely to create the next tech giant.

The current value of sterling not only will give our exporters a helping hand but will attract more investment to the UK.

We are also, in essence, starting from a blank piece of paper. Freed from Brussels’ more bureaucratic tendencies we will be able to tackle excessive red tape that hinders businesses.

We can look to make our tax system even more competitive, making us even more attractive to overseas investors.

In 2014, USD 5.1 billion of Chinese investment, nearly 30% of Europe’s total, came to the UK. Last year Chinese investment created almost 5,000 new jobs.

I want to keep this momentum going and want your views on how we negotiate the best deal post Brexit so the UK can continue to attract Chinese investment.

Trade

Turning to trade, I believe we need, above all, a calm and collaborative approach. The imperative now is to ensure we have a collective and unified view of the Britain we want in the future.

Firstly we will need to negotiate a new deal with the EU. I want us to maintain as close a relationship as possible on trade with our European partners. We will also look to secure free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries around the world.

We have and will continue to engage businesses and investors to help draw up the blueprints for what the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the rest of the world looks like. I am eager to hear your views and work together so we can get the best possible deals for the UK.

We need to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Trade deals aren’t agreed overnight. For some, we will be able to build on existing frameworks; others will have to be negotiated from scratch.

These negotiations will cover all areas of policy – including sector requirements from agriculture to financial services as well as regulatory issues such as customs, competition, and procurement.

Some sectors will slot into new deals relatively straightforwardly and others will be more complicated. We will therefore bring together policy experts from across government to ensure that we know what the UK needs.

Our UK trade team will also need to be resourced appropriately.

As no negotiations can take place before a new PM is in post and a new Cabinet formed, my job over the next few months is to lay out a set of options for the new PM.

However, the key thing for all of us here today is to see the opportunity this provides.

A fresh start gives a unique opportunity to shape a bright future for the UK as a global trading nation and open economy.

And I will use this week’s G20 trade ministers’ meeting in Shanghai to start building these important relationships with counterparts ahead of our negotiations.

The key message here is that we have a strong economy: we remain a fantastic place to invest, and have plenty of innovative, successful businesses. I have every confidence we will make this work.

Government support

Government is helping. For the first time, we are prioritising around 200 high value export campaigns, which could be worth up to £70 billion a year by 2020.

In China, for example, we have identified big ticket opportunities in around 17 sectors including in aerospace, healthcare and financial services.

We will bring together the whole of government, industry and our extensive overseas network to help UK businesses win these deals.

Conclusion

I’m optimistic about the future: and I believe we have all the tools now at our disposal to create a second Elizabethan Golden Age. The first Golden Age was based on peace, prosperity, new trading markets and a flourishing of the arts.

The prize that now awaits us is a continued close trading relationship with Europe, which is based on millennia of trading history – from Neolithic times right up to the modern day integration of our aerospace and automotive sectors. The UK remains a very important destination for European goods.

There’s also a prospect for striking new deals with Canada, New Zealand, Australia and other nations – forming the beginning of a new commonwealth trading pact.

Turning to the West, we want to reinforce our historic relationships with both North and South America, which stretch back many centuries.

And to the opportunities in the East, where for centuries British merchants have traded with China for tea and porcelain – so called ‘white gold’ – as well as with Japan, South Korea and other Asian nations.

In fact, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce was quoted earlier this week in the China Daily newspaper saying they wanted to do a free trade deal with the UK.

The exciting prospect of continuing trading relations with Europe and enhancing trading relationships East and West provides the UK with an opportunity to be a super connected trading hub.

Reinforcing democracy, British rule of law, and tolerance through these enhanced business connections is how we will build trust which in turn leads to peace and prosperity.

I am optimistic that we can seize this opportunity to create a second Elizabethan Golden Age.

Lord Price – 2016 Speech in Argentina

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Below is the text of the speech made by Lord Price at the Stock Exchange, Buenos Aires, Argentina on 6 May 2016.

Delighted to be here today and thanks for that introduction.

“Buenas tardes”.

As you can see, I have been practising my Argentine Spanish.

I was able to hone my skills when I came here a few years ago. At the time, I was Managing Director of Waitrose, one of the largest supermarkets in the UK, and I had come to Argentina on a buying trip. I had a memorable time travelling around this beautiful country and meeting our suppliers.

So, when I became the British Minister for Trade & Investment last month, I knew that Argentina was a country with vast potential and was keen for a return visit.

There were two things that intrigued me.

The first was the very strong relationship that Argentina and Britain had from the very early days of independence; and the second was the issue of trade.

I knew that when Argentina became independent, Britain was its natural ally as the pre-eminent power of the day.Railways and ports were built using British engineering knowhow and Liverpool bricks. These helped to open up the interior, enabling Argentina to develop into the major food producer it is today.

And the architectural legacy of this time lives on in the 300,000 tiles supplied by Royal Doulton for the Palace of Flowing Waters (the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes) in Buenos Aires. And in the design produced by British engineers for the beautiful Retiro Mitre railway station.

Less tangible are the common passions we both share.

I am a supporter of Crewe Alexandra Football Club. Not heard of them? They are the second bottom team in the bottom league of English football. They would probably struggle against Boca or River Plate, but – like any football fan – I live in hope.

We enjoy the finer things of life.

It was no coincidence that I unveiled the sleek lines of the Jaguar XE car at the British residence last night.

And both our nations admire fashion and creativity.

I am here today because I think there is an opportunity to transform these shared interests into tangible business interests.

The second issue that caught my attention was our attitude to trade. I am a great believer that business is a force for good. It is business that creates the jobs and profits, that generate the taxes, that pay for our schools, hospitals and roads, making our countries safer and more secure. And by doing business internationally, we can spread these benefits to more people.

The freedom to trade is something that the UK believes in very strongly.

That’s why we use our influence as the world’s fifth largest economy to promote this via bodies such as the EU, the World Trade Organization, the G20 and the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation. We warmly welcome Argentina’s renewed engagement on the international scene, and the direction of your government’s economic reforms.

As the third largest economy in Latin America and a fellow member of the G20, it’s important that Argentina’s voice is heard. The UK is pushing for rapid progress on the EU-Mercosur trade deal; we are supportive of your bid to join the OECD; and we look for Argentina’s support in enabling the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Facilitation to come into force.

Expanding trade was one of the subjects under discussion when Prime Minister David Cameron met President Mauricio Macri in Davos, this January. It was the focus of a meeting between Chancellor George Osborne and Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay.

And, for these last two days, it has been my focus here, and that of the business delegation accompanying me. We have had the great pleasure of meeting Francisco Cabrera, your Minister for Production; Miguel Braun, your Secretary for Commerce; and Guillermo Dietrich, the Minister of Transport.

The message we bring is that the UK is committed to developing our bilateral relationship and supporting Argentina’s growth.

With this depth of activity going on, we are looking at specific opportunities. So what are these?

Rail is clearly one of them. Our countries worked together to help build the railway network here, now we can work together to develop it further. Yesterday, I visited the Mitre railway line where British company Brecknell Willis is involved with the electrification project. And Transport for London has a memorandum of understanding to support the development of a transfer station in Buenos Aires.

Foster + Partners designed the Buenos Aires City Hall; and we have a wide range of architects and engineers with track records of producing unforgettable designs and practical solutions for airports, housing, roads and ports.

Waste water is not the most glamorous of subjects, but this is an area where our civil engineers can work together to bring real benefit to people in Argentina.

I am excited by the prospect of increasing e-commerce. The UK is number one in Europe in this field, and I am delighted that British e-tailers will soon be promoted on the Mercado Libre website, in accordance with an agreement with UK Trade & Investment. With such technology, trading overseas has never been easier.

And the UK is keen to use its expertise in agri-tech to help Argentine farmers to improve yields and reduce costs, as we were able to discuss with Sociedad Rural, the Argentine Rural Association, just prior to our arrival at the Bolsa.

None of these projects can get off the ground without support from the financial sector.

I spoke earlier about the power of business to do good. This is not something our stockbrokers and bankers are accused of doing very frequently. Yet when you think about it, financial services are the bedrock that underpins so much other business activity. Where would the start-up be without the bank manager’s loan? Where would expanding businesses be without the ability to seek capital in the stock markets? And who would do business if they had no cover against risk? Financial services not only generate tax revenues on their own account, they allow the rest of the economy to do the same.

The UK and Argentina have a long history of cooperation in the financial sphere. And London is the leading centre in Europe for financial services. If we can work together on this, we can free up the resources that will enable Argentine businesses to grow.

For those Argentine companies that do want to expand internationally, I hope you will consider the UK. You would be warmly welcomed.

The UK is consistently the number one destination for foreign direct investment in Europe.

We are the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
We have a tax system that says that we are open for business. Our corporation tax is due to fall to 17% by 2020 and there is a tax rate of 10% that applies to profits earned on income from patents.
And we are home to businesses from around the globe; with a cosmopolitan and highly skilled workforce and standard of living that few other countries can match.
Furthermore, we actively welcome entrepreneurs and have visas for those wish to invest in the UK and their families.

Sadly, this lunch is the finale of my trip, and I am deeply honoured that I have been brought to such magnificent surroundings to speak to such a distinguished audience. Thank you for your time.

We are at the start of a new era for relations between our two countries, forging fresh ties that build on our historic connections and common interests. Over the coming weeks, we will see a British oil and gas delegation coming to Argentina, and an Argentine delegation attending London Tech Week.

I hope to see many more firms follow in their footsteps.

I have had a wonderful time in Argentina, and have been welcomed as a guest wherever I have been.

Thanks once again for a very valuable visit.