On February 8th we hosted a How to do Business in the UK info session at WeWork in downtown Toronto. We presented a panel of experts in Canadian, Scottish and Northern Ireland international business affairs who delightfully responded questions from the audience after giving a thorough presentation on their respective markets.
Bill Macheras, Trade Commissioner and InfoCentre Manager at Global Affairs Canada, offered the services of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) which will provide your company with on-the-ground intelligence and practical advice on this market to help you make better, more timely and cost-effective decisions. They can help you successfully navigate the complexities of the market, whether you’re looking to export, establish your company abroad, tackle a market access issue, pursue a joint-venture or strategic alliance, participate in global value chain, seek technology and R&D partnerships.
Bill reminded us that the UK is a global hub for a range of sectors, its government has developed ambitions low-carbon targets and that there is a demand for products at lower costs & improved efficiencies. However, they have an industrial strategy to focus on strengthening a UK supply base, doing business in the UK can cost a pretty penny and Brexit presents additional uncertainty.
We should all take advantage of CETA! the Canada EU Trade Agreement that can help you succeed right now!, CETA will apply to the UK until it officially leaves the EU. The elimination of 98% of tariff lines means most Canadian products are more competitive in the UK. It enhances access to the UK’s public procurement market and it gives Canadian firms an advantage as UK firms are looking for partners!
Brexit’s nominal withdrawal date is March 30, 2019. Currently Canada is actively engaging with UK stakeholders to set the foundation for our future bilateral relationship. Both PM Trudeau and PM May have stated that CETA is a natural starting point for future trade discussions between Canada and the UK upon Brexit and both countries committed to ensure continuity/seamless move for businesses and consumers.
Michael Barton, Regional Director at Trade & Investment, Invest Northern Ireland, reminding us of the valuable relationship between the UK and Canada. “Whatever happens post March 2019 there will still be a trade agreement between the two”.
With a population of 1.8 million Northern Ireland has the fastest growing population in the UK and is one of Europe’s youngest populations, with 55% under the age of 40.
What are Northern Ireland’s key business messages?
Northern Ireland has a pro-business Executive committed to building a vibrant, dynamic and outward looking economy. The region now has greater economic stability and a highly competitive cost environment with operating costs for business at significantly lower levels than the rest of UK and Western Europe.
The economy is the top priority of the Northern Ireland Executive and Ministers are fully
committed to securing new inward investment.
Northern Ireland presents a business solution that provides:
– competitive costs with over 20% savings in operational running costs compared
to major European cities;
– financial assistance from Invest NI that can provide a further 15-20% reduction in
operating costs in the start up years of an investment project;
– robust infrastructure , including quality property solutions, strong public and
private research bases and advanced transport networks. NI was the first region
in Europe to have 100% broadband access – essential for a modern economy.
– easy access- daily direct flights to and from numerous European cities, as well as
New York. Seasonal flights from Providence to Belfast (March to October) Only five
years ago there was only one direct scheduled international
flight to NI but now there are over 30.
“CETA is still on the table, let’s not miss that opportunity” Michael Barton, Invest Northern Ireland
Our last panelist was Chris Maskell, Head of Scottish Affairs Canada, and Vice President Technology Scottish Development International; Chris emphasized that there are lots of resources from both sides of the pond to help you do business, “do not leave this on the table!”.