By Claire West

The Prime Minister announced the appointments of eight Trade Envoys, who will promote trade for UK businesses in selected high-growth and developing markets.

In a speech to the Lord Mayor’s banquet at the Guildhall, he also announced a new £8 million pilot project to strengthen the capacity of overseas business groups, such as chambers of commerce, in 20 key countries.

Both moves are part of the Government’s ambitious strategy to help double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020.

The following people have been appointed as Trade Envoys, with immediate effect:

Baroness Bonham Carter of Yarnbury, Trade Envoy to Mexico.
Baroness Morris of Bolton, Trade Envoy to Jordan, Kuwait, Palestinian Territories.
Lord Puttnam of Queensgate, Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Lord Risby of Haverhill, Trade Envoy to Algeria.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal, Trade Envoy to South Africa.
Lord Sharman of Redlynch, Trade Envoy to Morocco.
Charles Hendry MP, Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Richard Graham MP, Trade Envoy to Indonesia
Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“We need to show the world at every opportunity this country’s great creativity and dynamism if we are going to win this global race for jobs, trade and investment. That is why I am delighted that some of our great parliamentarians have accepted my invitation to use their experience and know-how to bang the drum for British business.”

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said:

“For the long-term health of the economy, we need to go where the growth is and look to export outside the EU. That’s why we need to build up links with fast-growing emerging economies.

“Business groups can play an invaluable role in helping British companies establish themselves in overseas markets.

“We will be working closely with them in the new project announced today, helping them develop their ability to provide more support to firms looking to boost their trading activities.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills and Chair of the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys Network Lord Marland said:

"The Prime Minister has put trade at the heart of our country’s economic growth. I am delighted to chair and work with a cross-party group of high calibre and experienced individuals who are prepared to help British companies with their export drive in high growth markets."

The role of trade envoy will involve a proactive programme of activity to include leading trade delegations and raising the profile of the relevant markets within the UK. Each representative will complete up to two overseas visits per year as well as a programme of UK-based activity.

The network of the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys will be chaired by Lord Marland and will complement existing initiatives including the Business Ambassadors Network and the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

The overseas pilot project will help transform the way the UK delivers trade support to UK business overseas and put the UK on more of a competitive footing with countries like Germany, the US and France, all of whom have strong overseas chambers capable of supporting domestic businesses in overseas markets.

A new unit has been set up within UKTI to see the project through its first phase and will build on discussions across a range of business bodies such as the British Chambers of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Directors, the Engineering Employers Federation and the Federation of Small Businesses. This aims to make the experience of growing and expanding into overseas markets simpler and more seamless for UK business.

The project will look to enhance the range of overseas support available to UK companies including advisory services, launchpad offices, sector specialist working groups, trade missions, market intelligence reports and mentoring for new exporters.

The intention is for business groups, such as chambers, that are based in these markets to become a stronger and more integrated resource for UK businesses, alongside the work already being done by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UKTI.