Belgian trade official to speak at Yorkshire business networking event

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The first Belgian trade official to visit Yorkshire since the prime minister of its Flanders region said it was desperate to do a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK is to speak in Yorkshire this month.

An economic and commercial counsellor at the Belgium Embassy in London, Ben De Smit, is among speakers at an export networking event being held by

overseas trade specialist Chamber International at commercial law firm, Addleshaw Goddard, Sovereign Street, Leeds, on September 14.

His visit follows a statement from the prime minister of Belgian region Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, that Flanders wants a UK trade deal as part of creating a North Sea Union which would operate in a similar way to the Mediterranean Union and could also comprise Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, and Norway.

Ben De Smit has said that his visit, organised separately to Geert Bourgeois’ comments, will discuss opportunities for UK exporters in continental Europe,

including how they can use the ‘Low Countries’, such as The Netherlands and Belgium, as a gateway to trade throughout the continent.

Second speaker will be network development director at global early payment network, URICA Ltd, London, Wayne Morris, who will explain how exporting

businesses can pay and get paid on their own terms ‘without risk’.

Financed by the government via the British Business Bank, URICA provides small businesses with a form of supply chain funding to support exporters without any need for debt, security or personal guarantees.

Director of Chamber International, Tim Bailey, said: “Belgium is our eighth largest export market, it’s within easy reach, English is widely spoken, market

entry barriers are low and it wants to do more business with the UK. This makes it a perfect market for firms looking to build sales outside the UK.

“URICA is a dynamic new Internet-based approach to getting paid for your exports that offers enormous benefits to business and we’re pleased to help raise

their profile in the region.”

Delegates will have a chance to meet the speakers and talk to leading figures from key exporting firms in the region who will be on hand to give advice or arrange follow-up meetings to help mentor novice exporters or those needing specialist help.

The event starts at 4pm and is open to businesses from throughout Leeds City Region, which covers ten local authority districts including Leeds, Bradford, York, Kirklees, Barnsley, Wakefield, Selby, Calderdale, Harrogate and Craven, with more than 100,000 businesses, a 1.4m workforce, and an economy worth around £55bn.

Chamber International assists chambers of commerce with a wide range of specialist international trade services and is also supporting Leeds City Region

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) by delivering its We Are International export campaign, which aims to being an extra £1.6bn to ten local authority areas and create thousands of new jobs in the next five years.