Business leaders back Street on Canadian trade mission

Paul Faulkner, left, with Andy Street
X The Business Desk

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Business leaders in Greater Birmingham have pledged their support to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street ahead of his first overseas trade mission since assuming office in May.

Mr Street is heading a West Midlands trade mission to Toronto next week, where he will be accompanied by amongst others, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the GBCC, will join the Mayor for a visit intended to develop trade links between the region and the Canadian city.

The visit fulfils one of the 10 points Mr Street pledged to deliver in his first 100 days as Mayor.

The visit will also examine trade possibilities in a post-Brexit economy.

During the visit, Mr Street, along with Mr Faulkner and Andrew Browning, Mr Street’s chief of staff, will attend a briefing with Kevin McGurgan, the British Consul General and Director General at the Department of International Trade Canada.

This will be followed by meetings with key Canadian business leaders, including Tim Sluys, CEO of co-founder of Bridge Wireless Solutions, Pavi Binning, special adviser to Weston Group, one of North America’s largest food processing and distribution groups.

The delegation will also meet David J McFadden QC, counsel in the Toronto offices of Gowling WLG – the law firm also has an office in Two Snowhill in Birmingham.

They will also be holding talks with Allan O’Dette, the chief investment officer at the Ontario Investment Office.

Mr Street said: “Latest figures show that UK goods and service exports to Canada were worth £8.1bn and as CETA, an EU-Canada free-trade agreement comes into force, we must ensure that West Midlands businesses will be able to continue to access the Canadian market post-Brexit.

“We are delighted that Paul Faulkner will be with us to represent the interests of businesses in Greater Birmingham and beyond.”

Mr Faulkner said: “As Brexit become a reality, the chamber’s International Hub is stepping up its drive to encourage and help our businesses to export.

“North America will become an even more vital market for us to explore and our visit to Canada will serve as a useful follow-up to the meaningful talks the chamber’s British American Business Council had in Chicago recently.”