Business leaders quiz senior minister about international trade challenges and opportunities

Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers of Commerce hosted an informative virtual event last week for local businesses to hear from and pose questions to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade (pictured above).

The attendees made good use of the opportunity with dozens of issues being raised including the ongoing impact of withdrawal from the European Union (EU), not least regarding the importing and exporting of goods and services, as well as current and future trade deals with other countries.

Businesses in attendance represented a cross section of Norfolk and Suffolk sectors and ranged from manufacturers, including Lotus Cars, Cogent Technology, Fountain Fresh, Merxin and Claydon Yield-O-Meter Ltd; to logistic companies including, LV Shipping Cory Brothers and Wallis Shipping Services.

The Secretary of State provided an update on the progress on trade deals and highlighted the support available to businesses considering becoming exporters.

Questions from the delegates covered a multitude of topics, from how to get visas for EU citizens, to what support is available for SMEs,  changes to import controls on goods into the UK, what infrastructure investment is needed to support our ports, and what opportunities would there be to simplify EU red tape.

In attendance at the meeting, Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chambers of Commerce said: “We were very pleased to welcome local Norfolk MP and the Secretary of State, Liz Truss to our joint meeting. It was vitally important that the Secretary of State heard directly from the local business community who are dealing with the day to day ongoing impact of both Brexit and who need to understand what future opportunities there will be for those companies undertaking international trade in Norfolk.”

Also in attendance at the meeting, was John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce who added: “Suffolk and Norfolk are key UK gateways to the country’s international trade success – something well understood by Liz Truss.

“As the UK’s trading gateway with the rest of the world and Europe, Suffolk and Norfolk businesses can help meet the government’s ambitious imports and exports programme as well as help with the vision of global Britain. Furthermore, Freeport East could also present many benefits for our region including driving inward investment, and facilitating better business to business connections across Norfolk and Suffolk with the rest of the world.”

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