This post is also available in: French
I’ve been thinking this week about commercial diplomacy, that is something that our Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary are very keen that the diplomatic network of Embassies around the world should be even more active and engaged in.
And in fact we already are doing a great deal in France. As part of that, I paid my first visit to Toulouse, to the Airbus installation there, to see the extraordinary success of the company, including some important British suppliers like Rolls Royce who have an expanding programme of supplying engines to the new generation of Airbus aircrafts. There is a picture of me on our website, in front of the very first Airbus A380 painted in British Airways colours, to be delivered next year. It’s an enormous success for European industry and for British suppliers as part of that.
We also had last week here in Paris our Minister for Higher Education, Innovation and Research David Willetts, who had come partly to talk at the OECD but partly to meet French investors in the UK, large French companies with important research and developments activities, to talk about how to make sure that the UK is the most attractive place for new research and development investments.
And this week, it happens to be the week to mark 20th anniversary of the Single Market decision in the European Union, one of the most important policy developments in the EU. It has been a win-win for all countries in the EU, opening up their markets, increasing trade. British-French trade for example has increased by about 125 % in that time, and there is still more to do to open up the market for services, the digital market so that we can all of us take advantage of the size of the European market for our businesses. That is something that the UK is very keen to do.