Further export opportunities announced for region

West Midlands businesses invited to join the first Midlands Engine market visit to USA and Canada.

Businesses and regional partners from the West Midlands are being encouraged to drive forward the Midlands Engine and take part in its inaugural market visit to the USA and Canada this autumn.

The first in a series of market visits was announced by Government at the Midlands Engine Business Summit last month, and it will be the first time that businesses and organisations from across the entire region will come together as one to promote trade opportunities.

Taking place from 18th – 22nd September, 2016, and drawing from the Midlands Engine’s strong manufacturing and engineering base, the visit will focus on three separate sector activities – automotive, manufacturing and aerospace, and food and drink – across the three cities of Detroit, Toronto and Chicago.

The Midlands Engine region is home to more than 11.5 million people and makes a £222 billion annual contribution to the UK economy, boasting many globally significant employers and a strong manufacturing and engineering base, as well as growing sectors such as creative, life science and green technologies. It plans to generate an additional £34 billion for the Midlands economy over the next 15 years and to create 300,000 jobs.

Currently experiencing solid economic growth and with established links to other global markets, the USA and Canada offer huge opportunities for UK businesses. The USA is consistently the Midlands largest single trading market, with Canada ranked not far behind.

The three market visits will involve one-to-one meetings with potential distributors, with trade advisers on hand to ensure each delegate is able to accomplish the maximum from their time, while also helping to raise the profile of the region overseas.

The Food and Drink market visit heads to Chicago from 18th–21st September, and the programme involves sessions with UPS, a tour of Wrigley’s Innovation Campus, Tate & Lyle’s Commercial and Food Innovation Centre and a reception at the Shakespeare Theatre on Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier, bringing together the Midlands Engine delegation and potential US partners, buyers and investors.

At the same time as the Food and Drink delegates are exploring the Windy City, the Automotive market visit will take in Toronto and Detroit. While in the city made famous by Motown, delegates will attend a networking lunch with the Detroit Chapter of British American Business Council. The mission will then board a flight to Canada’s largest city, where delegates will visit a car plant and attend further networking events.

Toronto, along with Chicago, will also be visited by the Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace market visit from 18th – 22nd September. This visit will involve a tour of Chicago’s Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute and sessions on how to conduct business in Canada as well as an overview of the Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing sector in Canada.

Christine Hamilton, Department for International Trade interim regional director for the West Midlands, said: “This market visit provides a potentially invaluable platform for enterprising firms across the West Midlands in these three sectors to make significant progress in expanding their reach to the US and Canada, two of the most exciting markets in the world.

“The Midlands Engine exports more goods than any other English region – but we cannot afford to be complacent. Our region is full of talented companies that the world wants to do businesses with and through the Exporting is GREAT campaign and market visits such as this we want to raise the profile of the West Midlands and get many more companies exporting.

“I’d like to encourage businesses in our area who are interested in attending any of these three market visits to register their interest immediately or contact their local Exporting is GREAT team for more information.”