David Cameron has stressed the importance of trade to the UK economy, telling the country’s business ambassadors that the priority is “growth, growth, growth”.
The Prime Minister urged them to “sell Britain” to the rest of the world as countries such as China, India and Brazil developed apace.
Addressing them as a group for the first time, he declared: “Last year the priority was getting on top of the deficit but this year the priority is growth, growth, growth.”
The business ambassadors met Mr Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Business Secretary Vince Cable at 10 Downing Street to discuss how to boost trade.
They were joined by Lord Green, the new Trade and Investment Minister. The former HSBC group chairman will be responsible for the delivery of a cross-government strategy for trade.
Mr Cameron said: “I really want this to be a very active Government in making sure we deliver strong trade policies and strong trade outcomes…
“There’s going to be a very big Government impetus behind this policy.”
But he said: “I don’t think promoting British trade is just something for the Government. I think it’s something all of business can help us with and that’s where business ambassadors come in. I want you to sell Britain – British exports and Britain as a place for investment.”
Among those seated around the table on Tuesday were former Lloyds chairman Sir Victor Blank, former head of BP Lord Browne, Lord Patten, designer Anya Hindmarch and John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI.
The meeting came ahead of the publication this spring of a White Paper detailing the Government’s trade strategy.