Isle of Man News - POSTED Fri 16-09-2011

Island Reaches Out to Commonwealth Businesses

by Alistair Ramsay

The Isle of Man has built on its success in hosting the Commonwealth Youth Games by staging a prestigious event in London to promote economic partnerships between Commonwealth nations.

The ‘Doing Business in the Commonwealth’ forum, an initiative by the Department of Economic Development, was hosted by Chief Minister Tony Brown. The Chief Minister gave a key note address where he showcased the Island’s business proposition and its record as a core asset and partner to the international community.

The Chief Minister drew on findings from a recent research study by Ernst & Young for the Isle of Man Government – The Isle of Man Economic Research Report – highlighting the importance of the Isle of Man as a major trading partner for the UK and the City of London. He also set out one of the report’s central conclusions that the Island plays an important role in providing inward financial flows to support the activity of the City, as well as facilitating diversification and strengthening relationships with emerging markets.

In addition, the panel and audience discussed the economic role of smaller jurisdictions in the Commonwealth, how to accelerate intra-commonwealth trade and whether the global economic crisis will be a catalyst for greater regional economic integration. The panel included: the Chief Minister; Paula Freedman, Director of Devolved Markets for UK Trade and Investment; Peter Longworth, Director of Corporate and Government Relations for the Commonwealth Business Council; and Edwin Laurent, Head of International Trade and Regional Co-operation for the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The event was attended by a number of high calibre guests including several High Commissioners from Commonwealth partners, senior parliamentarians, members of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

The Isle of Man Chief Minister Tony Brown said: “One of the goals of the Commonwealth is to help the concerns of small states receive greater international attention. As we know only too well, it remains difficult – but vital – for small countries to have their voices heard in international arenas.

“As I recently reminded participants in the Small Countries Financial Management Programme, we can be valuable contributors to the economies of the larger nations, something which many of them misunderstand, or do not recognise. Events of this nature give us a great opportunity not only to highlight the Isle of Man’s appeal to businesses across the globe but also to discuss how Commonwealth nations can work together and how the Isle of Man will continue to be a beneficial partner to the UK and a responsible partner for all Commonwealth nations.”

Paula Freedman, Director of Devolved Markets for UK Trade and Investment, said: “The Isle of Man Government is to be congratulated for holding an event which links its important industry opportunities with the wider Commonwealth. The timing is excellent with the Commonwealth Business Forum coming up in Perth at the end of October. Well done to the Government.”

Edwin Laurent, Head of International Trade and Regional Co-operation at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: “The Commonwealth offers great support for and value to its members, in particular the smaller countries. The Chief Minister is to be complimented for reaching out in this way to business and The Isle of Man is also to be commended for aligning itself with the Commonwealth, which has evolved into a truly formidable economic force in today’s world.”

Peter Longworth, Director of Corporate and Government Relations at the Commonwealth Business Council, said: “All delegates were impressed by the Chief Minister’s up-beat account of the Isle of Man economy, its diversity and the forward thinking of its entrepreneurs in developing green technologies. These innovations and services are in demand across the Commonwealth particularly those with developing or emerging economies which are growing at great speed but from a low technology base. The Commonwealth Business Council hopes to develop its relationship with the Isle of Man with a view to accessing investment and trade opportunities in Commonwealth markets.”

In addition to being the first small nation to host the Commonwealth Youth Games, the Isle of Man has links with Commonwealth Countries through its involvement with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and its sponsorship of the Small Countries Financial Management Programme. It has also signed tax co-operation agreements with Australia, Canada, India, Malta and New Zealand.


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