Maritime sector “at heart” of UK’s future foreign policy
Chairman, David Dingle CBE, joined policy, academic and business leaders at a
special event to explore the future of the UK’s foreign policy.
The event - Foreign Policy in a Post-Brexit World - was hosted by the British Foreign Policy Group at Southampton Solent University.
Chaired by Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it was the first event in a national programme that seeks to engage citizens in debate about the future of the country’s foreign policy.
David Dingle told the audience that 95% of all UK trade arrives on ships and through ports, translating into a total £500bn worth of goods being facilitated by the maritime sector each year.
Post-Brexit, Dingle said that the maritime sector would be more important than ever: “The UK is a maritime nation, and government resolve to increase international trade means huge opportunities to grow the UK’s £40bn maritime sector.”
“Forging stronger trading relationships with countries right across the world – as well as with our friends in Europe – means that maritime will be at the heart of the UK’s post-Brexit foreign policy.”
“As an island nation, our ancestors have looked to the sea for global trade and prosperity. Today, that same outward-looking focus will be critical in transforming Britain into a global leader in free trade after we leave the European Union.”
To be able to fulfil its responsibilities, however, industry requires as much certainty, predictability, stability and support from government as possible. Dingle highlighted Maritime UK’s manifesto covering:
- Attractive business environment
- Backing British
- Investing in connectivity and infrastructure
- Fostering an innovation nation
- Boosting maritime exports
Celebrating the event’s Southampton location, he added, “Southampton is at the cutting-edge of developments in innovative maritime technology and is home to major ports that connect Britain to the rest of the world”.
The national engagement programme will see future events held across the UK.