'Northern Ireland a clear example of how trade brings us prosperity,’ writes Liam Fox and Karen Bradley
As the board of the Department for International Trade makes its first ever visit to Belfast today, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox MP and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley write about how trade gives us security and puts money in all of our pockets
It is easy to get caught in a conversation about numbers when we're talking about trade's power to transform. You can talk about an increase in GDP, you can look at a pie chart of exports or data on investment flows, but none of those things really capture it.
Trade puts money in your pocket. Trade gives you choices, in everything, from what you buy at the supermarket, to what kind of life you want for your family. Trade gives you security.
There is no other place in the whole of the United Kingdom than Northern Ireland that best understands how trade and the joint prosperity it brings can genuinely change lives.
That is why this government has never backtracked on our commitment to ensure there is no hard border in Northern Ireland.
We believe deeply that free flowing trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland is vital to underpinning the peace process and the prosperity that has grown from it.
Thousands of people move back and forth between Northern Ireland and Ireland every day - to go to work, to visit family and even to do their shopping.
That's why in every Brexit scenario we have maintained an approach to ensuring the free flow of goods across the border.
Northern Ireland is now a dynamic, outward-facing place together with the rest of the UK, and is an integral part of our UK.
Trade sits at the very heart of this progress.
Trade is the fuel that drives growth both now and in the future. Goods exports in 2018 from Northern Ireland increased by 1.9% to £8.9bn since the previous year.
It is in recognition of this progress that we are bringing the Board of Trade to Northern Ireland for the first time ever this week.
Our arrival stands testament to the success of traders in Northern Ireland to lead not just the UK, but the whole world when it comes to innovation and talent.
That's why we're naming 15 firms here as export advocates to promote the huge benefits that there are for business people who have the courage to look outwards and seize the opportunities that exist for them.
They are firms like First Derivatives who consult for the world's largest finance, technology and energy institutions and STATSports who are using data to revolutionise the performance of the world's biggest sports teams.
Our message to those businesses in Northern Ireland who choose to follow their example is that the UK government has your back.
And our message to every other business across the United Kingdom is the same. You can be a market leader like First Derivatives. You can be a game changer like STATSports. You can go global too.
We'll show you how to export, we'll show you where you can export to today, and we'll break open new markets for you to export to tomorrow.
We'll put you in contact with people like you who are already exporting. We'll put our money where our mouth is, and back you with finance.
We're not just here to support you. We're here to make sure every business has the chance to succeed right across the UK.
As the board of the Department for International Trade makes its first
ever visit to Belfast today, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox MP
and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley write about how trade gives us security and puts money in all of our pockets