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(Pictured: Afzal Khan, Shadow Minister for Exports, Nigel Huddleston, Minister of State – International Trade.)

London, 8 November 2023 — Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, led by International Trade Manager Koyas Miah and accompanied by influential Suffolk business leaders representing diverse sectors such as manufacturing, engineering, and food and drink, played a significant role in a seminal event hosted at the House of Lords. Organised by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), as part of the esteemed International Trade Week, this gathering convened a diverse audience of politicians, diplomats, civil servants, businesses, and Chamber members to champion export growth, with a special emphasis on the BCC's Trade Manifesto.

Key contributors to the discussions included the Minister of State for International Trade, Nigel Huddleston MP, and Shadow Minister for Exports, Afzal Khan MP. The session provided valuable insights from recent BCC survey data, revealing that the UK's export landscape has remained relatively static since the pandemic.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce played a significant role, emphasising the importance of local Chambers in contributing to the national dialogue on export growth.

On the importance of this event for Suffolk businesses, Koyas said, "It was truly gratifying to lead a delegation of Suffolk businesses to the meeting at the House of Lords. Providing our local businesses with direct access to ministers allowed them to pose questions and engage firsthand. The opportunity to network with esteemed business leaders from the BCC network and the BCC global network further enriched the experience.

In the evolving landscape of digital and e-commerce growth, the significance of contemporary free trade agreements cannot be overstated. These agreements are pivotal in fostering international trade growth, impacting both imports and exports positively. Together, we are committed to maximising the benefits of such engagements for the Suffolk business community."

Director General of the BCC, Shevaun Haviland, highlighted the challenges posed by the pandemic, supply chain disruption, Brexit, non-tariff trade barriers, and global headwinds. Haviland stated, "If our economy is to grow, we must export more. The challenges have made this more difficult, yet firms that trade overseas grow faster, pay better, and are more resilient."

The event showcased optimism from International Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston, who emphasised the rising trend in UK exports, reaching over £880 billion in the year to August 2023, a 15% increase from the previous year. Huddleston reiterated the government's commitment to supporting British businesses in their exporting endeavours.

Shadow Minister for Exports, Afzal Khan MP, affirmed Labour's dedication to driving exports, negotiating free trade agreements, and ensuring economic benefits for businesses across the UK.

Rochelle Sommer, CO-CEO of WTA, shared her enthusiasm for the exciting opportunities for UK companies to enhance their international trade, emphasizing the strategic benefits of exporting for growth and the importance of digitising supply chains.

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce expressed its commitment to ongoing International trade public affairs and lobbying efforts, projecting the county's strengths and advocating for government and opposition support.

This event marks a significant step in fostering international trade growth, aligning with the BCC's vision for a global Britain to exploit new markets and achieve its £1tn export target.


About the British Chambers of Commerce - Where Business Belongs

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 53 Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of firms. It provides a unified voice for these companies, rooted in their communities, at the national level. We link our UK network with over 75 international member chambers, to promote trade and investment, and work for a better future for businesses around the world.        

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Suffolk Chamber

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