Britain’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, acted a flagship for the nation’s maritime sector when it visited New York this week.
Aboard the huge carrier, anchored in the Hudson River near Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, were delegates from MaritimeUK, including Solent Maritime Sector Lead, Kevin George.
The visit was part of a Department for International Trade mission to promote transatlantic trade.
The delegation of UK maritime businesses joined others at a reception with the Secretary of State for International Trade, The Rt Hon Liam Fox MP.
The delegation’s mission was to explore opportunities to strengthen transatlantic trade.
The carrier’s arrival coincided with a visit of another British and Solent icon; the RMS Queen Mary 2.
Both ships symbolise the commercial and security links to be found between the UK and the USA and Britain’s world-class maritime capability – from engineering and training to professional services.
The UK maritime sector is adds approximately $49 billion to UK GDP and supports just under a million jobs.
Kevin George, Red Funnel chairman, said, “We’re here in New York celebrating the Solent’s pioneering maritime spirit and to highlight the region’s unrivalled track record in maritime research and innovation.
“The Port of Southampton is the UK’s biggest port, handling $52 billion of British manufactured goods each year, while Portsmouth is the centre of a world-class maritime defence cluster that provides 20,000 jobs and contributes more than $2 billion a year to the regional economy. And, of course, the city is also the home port of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier.”
The United States is the UK’s largest single nation trading partner and this week’s visit took place place just days after US Treasury Secretary, Robert Lighthizer, announced that the US intends to begin negotiations towards a UK-US Free Trade Agreement after the UK leaves the European Union.
Capitalising upon the nautical setting, Dr Fox hosted the first Maritime Nations Forum between the UK and the USA.
Dr Fox said: “The United States is one of our closest allies, our largest single bilateral trading partner and we will see that bond continue to strengthen as we leave the European Union.
“My international economic department is currently consulting on the potential of a future free trade agreement with the US, and I would strongly encourage British businesses and the public to make the most of this opportunity to share their thoughts on what this deal should include.”
Source : DailyEcho