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How to do business with the Commonwealth

FSB is joining with Diverse Magazine and the Merseyside and Cheshire Commonwealth Association (MCCA) to provide advice and guidance on exporting to the Commonwealth at this year’s Diversity and Inclusion Conference, part of the International Business Festival in Liverpool.

The session will feature an expert panel to support exporters in accessing opportunities across the Commonwealth – a diverse group of 53 states spanning Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific.


With 2.3billion people and a GDP projected to reach $14 trillion by the end of the decade, the Commonwealth contains some of the fastest-growing countries in the world, and trade between Commonwealth member states is expected to rise strongly in the coming years, from over $680bn today to surpass $1 trillion by 2020. Commonalities including use of the English language, similar financial and legal systems and historical trading links mean that potential opportunities for UK businesses are many.

The session will be chaired by Gary Millar, president of the MCCA. On the panel will be:

• Helen Baker, Hydraulics Online, North West Business Exporter of the Year, FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards;

• Dave Maisey, ICC Solutions Ltd, Vice Chair of the Merseyside and Cheshire Commonwealth Association;


• Chris Manka, Export Consultant and FSB Area Leader for Greater Manchester;

• John Mohin OBE, Graham Shapiro Design Ltd, formerly head of overseas subsidiary companies for Wedgwood and Waterford Crystal.

• A representative of the Queensland Trade and Investment Commission.

Garth Dallas, Founder of Diverse Magazine, said: “The ‘How to Do Business with the Commonwealth’ Trade Symposium seeks to promote trade with the Commonwealth by connecting UK businesses with buyers, suppliers and distributors throughout the Commonwealth. Diversity and Inclusion sits at the centre of any successful and sustainable international trade initiative and we are pleased to partner with the FSB and MACCA for this important aspect of our 2018 conference.”

Gary Millar, President of the Merseyside and Cheshire Commonwealth Association, said: “There are fantastic opportunities for British businesses presented by the united member countries of the Commonwealth, which are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations. In this event we intend to showcase these opportunities and provide guidance for businesses who are looking to utilise this network to begin trading overseas, or take the next step in their exporting journey.”


Chris Walker, Chair of FSB’s Department of International Trade Policy Unit, said: “The trading links between the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth are many, representing certainty for small businesses interested in international trade at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty across the world. We want to explore how firms can maximise the opportunities presented by the Commonwealth and the level of expertise on our panel will allow us to do this very effectively.”

‘How to do Business with the Commonwealth’ will be the opening session of The Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2018, a free event to take place on Tuesday, 19 June at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool as part of the International Business Festival 2018. For more information including speakers see here.

Delegates who sign up for the conference receive free access to the rest of the festival on the day. Register for IBF2018 here.