By Daniel Hunter

UK Trade & Investment and the Council for British Chambers of Commerce in Europe have signed a new agreement to look at ways to work together to support British companies doing business in Europe.

Susan Haird, Deputy Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the government’s international business development department, and Howard Rosen, President of the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE), signed a new Memorandum of Understanding recognising COBCOE’s role as a ‘strategic partner’ in the development of UK trade with Europe.

Part of the drive for this enhanced partnership comes from strategic updates in the two organisations. In May 2011, UKTI launched a new 5-year strategy “Britain Open for Business”.

The strategy aims to target more small and medium-sized businesses through business intermediaries to help boost UK growth. Both UKTI and COBCOE share a common ambition to provide high-quality support, networking and assistance to UK-based firms operating in Europe.

The new MoU replaces a previous memorandum dating from 2002. The new MoU will lead to UKTI and COBCOE to developing and trialling new initiatives and extend business support services and other activity to support UKTI’s existing work in Europe.

“This is an exciting development," Susan Haird said.

"We are delighted to reaffirm our relationship with COBCOE, which dates back more than a decade. The new MoU provides a strong impetus for UKTI and COBCOE to deepen areas of co-operation to deliver support to UK exporters. Discussions on potential new projects are already underway between us. There is real encouraging potential to work more closely together.”

Mr Rosen said growing business in Europe is essential.

“We know that increased exports will be essential to future economic growth in the UK," he said.

"Our member chambers across Europe offer a unique business network for the British-based business community; we are really pleased to be able to work in partnership with UKTI to support and assist British exporters develop into new markets”

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