Written by 10:19 am Europe Economy

Trade Secretary sets out plan to ‘future-proof UK economy’

  • Gateshead goes green as the North East hosts top global execs at landmark Trade Expo to secure new investment in UK industries of the future
  • Trade Secretary says “now is the time to future-proof our economy” and hails £20 billion of job-creating, decarbonising investment in past two years
  • Announcements at the Expo include £26 million finance package to export Northern Ireland-built zero-emission buses around the world

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP will call investment in clean energy “the future-proofing force that will help us create a better tomorrow” at a landmark trade event in the North East of England.

Speaking to an audience of global investors and executives at the Green Trade and Investment Expo in Gateshead, she will set out a three-pronged approach to using trade to ensure the UK is ready to tackle crucial global challenges.

Growing and innovating industries to combat climate change, protect our energy security and create high-paying jobs in industries of the future will form the core of UK’s green trade approach, backed by significant international investment.

The speech will celebrate figures which show the UK’s progress toward clean and sustainable energy is delivering huge economic benefits for the UK. In the past two years, the Government has secured £19.8 billion in new investment, creating over 11,000 new jobs. Total foreign investment has created nearly 85,000 new jobs for people across the UK in 2021-2022 alone. An unprecedented £100 billion of private sector investment is expected to support nearly 500,000 new jobs by 2030.

Ahead of the speech, Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

We know trade and investment grows our economy, creates jobs, and puts money in people’s pockets – but it also has the power to tackle the challenges we see around the world.

Now is the time to future-proof our economy by investing in cutting-edge green technology, protecting our long-term energy security and creating thousands of jobs in industries of the future.

In just two years we’ve helped to secure £20 billion in green investment from everywhere from Spain to South Korea, creating over 11,000 jobs. I am committed to continuing to bang the trading drum for Britain to boost economic growth and level up the UK for generations to come.

Hosted by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Expo brings together UK businesses and global investors to capitalise on the commercial opportunities stemming from the UK’s journey to net zero.

Minister of State for Climate Change Graham Stuart said:

The UK is number one in Europe for renewable investment opportunities, with the highest offshore wind capacity, one of the largest potential CO2 storage bases, and a fast-emerging centre of excellence for hydrogen propulsion and EV batteries.

The deals struck here in Gateshead will not just bolster our country’s green transition and energy security, but will grow the UK’s economy – supporting livelihoods and helping in our fight against climate change.

Announcements expected at the Expo include Northern Ireland-based bus manufacturer Wrightbus who have secured an £18 million Green Trade Loan and £8 million Green Bank Guarantee, with an 80 percent guarantee from UK Export Finance (UKEF). This will enable them to export cutting-edge net-zero buses to new export markets, building on their existing contracts across the globe, including to Australia and Germany.

Joerg Hofmann, CEO at Wrightbus, said:

At Wrightbus, we are entering the next stage of our ambitious growth plan, significantly growing our export volume from our UK base and becoming one of the leading battery electric and hydrogen bus manufacturers in Europe. UKEF’s support will strongly help us on our future global growth path.

Flogas will confirm a £50 million investment to upgrade Avonmouth terminal to store liquid petroleum gas and future-proofing the site to handle renewable biogas and hydrogen, opening up a potential global supply of renewable fuels to the UK.

Ivan Trevor, Managing Director, Flogas Britain Ltd, said:

The £100 million investment into the Avonmouth LNG Terminal and pipeline near Bristol will link the UK to an unparalleled supply of off-grid gas, providing security and affordability for off-grid homes and businesses across the UK.

With plans to handle fully renewable green gas alternatives and enable emerging fuels to be imported and exported more easily, it will also play a vital role in creating a lower carbon future and help the Government meet its net zero emissions target.

GTIE falls on day two of International Trade Week, a week-long series of business and sector-led activities, events and workshops available to businesses of all sizes and sectors across the UK, completely free of charge. The week is aimed at businesses looking to maximise their global potential, giving them the advice and confidence they need to take the next steps to grow their business and access new international markets.

24 businesses will be showcasing at the Expo, from North East powerhouse Rolls Royce to Proto, a North East England hub for innovation that is opening the first digital production facility in Europe to help organisations to transition to Net Zero using new technology.

The Green Trade and Investment Expo will be sponsored by Principal Partners bp and SSE, and Official Partners, Amazon, Barclays and Atkins, who are crucial stakeholders in the UK’s transition to secure, clean and affordable energy.

Tom Samson, CEO of Rolls-Royce SMR, said:

For the first time in over 20 years, the UK has a domestic nuclear energy technology supplier and the GTIE presents a fantastic opportunity for Rolls-Royce SMR to showcase this industry leading decarbonisation solution. Rolls-Royce SMR has an ambition to build factories and strengthen the UK nuclear supply chain to deliver significant and sustained levelling up and energy security benefits.

We welcome the Government’s leadership on net zero and its support to deliver 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050.

Alex Cook, Innovation Manager at PROTO, said:

We were delighted to be able to work with Invest North East England and local tech businesses MAADigital, FuzzyLogic and AIS Survivex to create a strong submission for the Expo, and we look forward to showcasing our selection of immersive demonstrators.

The North East is home to an exciting cluster of immersive tech companies and our showcase will allow investors to experience first-hand how these technologies can have a real impact in the energy sector by streamline processes, reducing emissions and allowing companies to de-risk hazardous training exercises by training staff in virtual environments.

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