More than 60 small businesses are taking part in the five-day trade mission led by Lord Livingston, which is part of UK Trade and Investment’s target of doubling trade with Central and Eastern Europe by ?30bn by the end of the decade. The delegation of businesses includes companies from the energy, rail, healthcare, life sciences, retail and security sectors, which “reflects some of the highest value opportunities for British business in the region”, according to UKTI. During the visit Lord Livingston, who was formerly the CEO of BT, will launch two new British Business Centres in Slovakia and Hungary, in a bid to increase the support available to UK SMEs exporting to those countries. A British Business Centre for Poland opened last year, and business centres in the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovenia are also due to open shortly. “This is a dynamic and exciting growth market. British firms have doubled trade exports to Eastern and Central European countries in the last 10 years but we still lag behind our rivals,” says?Trade Minister Lord Livingston. “By 2020, I want to double exports to this region, so we are ramping up our support for British firms on the ground by opening a network of business centres across the region and increasing the number of trade missions to introduce more British businesses to potential buyers.” The four countries of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, along with five others in Central Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia), have a combined population of over 100 million people, a combined GDP in excess of ?1tn.
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