Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK will head an Isle of Man delegation attending the Commonwealth Business Forum in London next week.
Mr Quayle will be accompanied by Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, and representatives from the Island’s business community.
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. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to welcome ministers and business leaders to the City on 16 April to discuss trade and investment opportunities.
Contributing to the Business Forum will help the Isle of Man to raise its profile throughout the Commonwealth, which comprises 53 member states representing the interests of 2.6 billion people – one third of the world’s total population.
Developing stronger economic ties with Commonwealth nations is part of the Isle of Man Government’s targeted engagement. The aim is to promote a deeper understanding of the Island to a global audience and to attract new business and employment.
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 estimated to be 19% lower on average between Commonwealth countries.
Members of the Isle of Man delegation will take part in a series of events, workshops and panel discussions in London, exploring key topics such as harnessing technology and innovation, attracting inward investment and accessing modern financial services.
The Chief Minister, who represented the Isle of Man at a Commonwealth trade event in the Gold Coast last week, said:
‘Brexit will bring great change to the economic landscape and the Isle of Man must position itself to take advantage of new opportunities. I believe there is value in developing our ties with the Commonwealth, which offers a global network of markets the Island’s economy is well placed to support.’
Minister Skelly added:
‘As a leading international business centre, we are constantly striving to attract fresh investment and jobs for our people. The Island has a great story to tell and by attending the Commonwealth Business Forum we will be able to promote our economy to a worldwide audience.’
The Isle of Man has been forging closer relations with the Commonwealth since becoming a strategic partner of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) in 2017. The Chief Minister has taken part in meetings of the CWEIC Advisory Board, while Island-based software development business PDMS Limited has been selected as a Commonwealth Export Champion.
Chris Allen, President of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, commented:
‘It is in all our interests to raise awareness of the Island and how our economy supports global trade. Building on our links with the Commonwealth will open up new possibilities and this joint delegation to London is an example of the public and private sectors working together to achieve positive results.’