Opportunities for the Isle of Man to develop closer economic links with countries throughout the Commonwealth have been highlighted this week.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK hosted a visit by Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC).
Lord Marland delivered the keynote address at a Commonwealth Business Breakfast in Douglas on Thursday and also held discussions with Government Ministers and local business leaders.
The Isle of Man became a strategic partner of the CWEIC in 2017 and is working to strengthen its association with countries across the Commonwealth. The Chief Minister recently travelled to London to join a number of other government leaders for the launch of the 2018 Commonwealth Business Forum.
The Isle of Man will take part in the Forum in April, as part of the drive to promote greater awareness of its status as a leading international business centre. The event is an integral part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, which is being held in the UK for the first time in 20 years.
The strength of the Commonwealth is highlighted by the fact that intra-Commonwealth trade was estimated at US $525 billion in 2015 and is expected to increase to US $1 trillion by 2020. With the advantages of shared values, regulatory systems and language, trade costs are also estimated to be 19% lower on average between Commonwealth countries than with other trading partners.
Lord Marland said:
‘The Commonwealth Business Forum will provide the ideal platform for governments and private enterprise to build relationships. It will focus on key issues such as technology and innovation, the ease of doing business and the future of financial services. I have been encouraged by the response of government and business during my visit to the Island and their outward-looking, entrepreneurial spirit. People here are switched on to the opportunities within the Commonwealth for trade and new business and I look forward to working with the Isle of Man in the future.’
As well as participating in a panel discussion as part of the Commonwealth Business Breakfast, Lord Marland gained an insight into the diversity of the Island’s economy through a series of business meetings and visits to successful local companies.
The Chief Minister said:
‘Welcoming Lord Marland to the Isle of Man is another positive step towards improving our connections within the Commonwealth. We must explore opportunities to build international trade partnerships to attract new investment and create jobs for our people. Our involvement with the CWEIC will help the Isle of Man to raise its profile across Commonwealth countries representing the interests of more than 2.6 billion people. Attending the Commonwealth Business Forum in April will present unique opportunities for the Island to develop its international outreach.’