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British and Dutch maritime leaders to meet as UK leaves the EU

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UK and Dutch business leaders will meet in Rotterdam and Amsterdam in February to discuss future maritime and trade relations following the UK’s departure from the EU.

The event is to take place just days after the UK formally leaves the EU on 31 January.

Maritime UK and the Dutch government are hosting the second UK-NL Maritime Nations Forum on 25-27 February, which will see a number of the UK’s world-leading maritime companies visit the major port city of Rotterdam, in an effort to secure fruitful new deals.

Businesses will also be scoping areas for bilateral maritime collaboration and discussing areas to prioritise within a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement and broader partnership.

“Britain is an island, maritime nation, with 95% of global trade being facilitated by the maritime sector. The Netherlands is the UK’s third-largest trading partner and fourth-largest export market,” said Harry Theochari, Maritime UK Chair.

“That the Netherlands is the first country for Maritime UK to visit, just days after our departure from the EU, helps us to say that whilst we’re leaving the EU, we’re not leaving Europe, and we’re here to stay.”

“We enjoy a trading relationship stretching back 400 years. With the UK formally leaving the EU in a matters of days and government committed to forging an independent trade policy for the first time in more than four decades, the UK’s maritime sector is central to securing our future prosperity as well as reaffirming existing links with established trading partners, including our North Sea neighbours, the Dutch.

“The Maritime Nations Forum will see some of the UK’s most innovative businesses meeting their Dutch counterparts as we explore how the two countries can work together to respond to the biggest challenges of our time – not least climate change.

“No one country will come up with the solution to decarbonising maritime, so working across borders with natural partners is really important.”

Marjolein Bouwers, Chief Innovation Advisor for the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands added, “The maritime industry faces two main challenges: digitalisation and energy transition. In both the UK and NL we have excellent research facilities, funding programmes, a strong maritime industry and similar policy agendas. There is a great deal of scope to intensify our collaboration via our research facilities as well as our clusters and continue to be reliable partners on a world stage.”

Finally, Chris Shirling-Rooke, Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime, said, “Leaving the EU has seen a significant reappraisal of our role as a global, trading nation. People are much more aware of the critical role maritime plays in our everyday life.

“That our businesses have had to think critically about different, new markets and, indeed, how they can maximise success in established markets, has been no bad thing.

“What’s critical to recognize is that global free trade must mean something to people – and to the regions and nations of the UK. I’m delighted that so many companies from Merseyside and the North West are seizing the opportunity to engage so proactively with our Dutch partners. Increased trade and new deals between our countries will help create jobs and growth back home.”

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