During his whistle-stop tour of the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show, SuperyachtNews caught up with Mark Garnier, International Trade Minister for the Department for International Trade, whose presence at the show was quite simply to champion the UK’s marine industry and place British businesses, in all sectors, firmly on the map.
“We have a lot of businesses here, from large yacht exhibitors down to tender manufacturers – and those who are with the British Marine stand and are a part of this great supply chain,” Garnier began. “The leisure marine industry provides 35,000 jobs and the British superyacht industry above 24m generates £186 million in tax receipts, yet it’s a contribution that is not talked about a great deal.”
He added: “Companies like Pendennis build incredible boats and really roll a pitch for other British businesses at every level of the marine sector. Our automotive manufacturing sector is fantastic; we have everything from cars for the masses through to exclusive cars and it’s the same for the marine industry – we have boating for the masses through to the super-specialist stuff, so we must value this industry.”
“The leisure marine industry provides 35,000 jobs and the British superyacht industry above 24m generates £186 million in tax receipts, yet it’s a contribution that’s not talked about a great deal.”
Garnier is adamant that British businesses will not lose out post-Brexit. “We absolutely have to maintain the best relationship possible with the EU because our vote to leave is not a divorce, but a friendship modification. I was very much part of the remain camp during the election and it’s important to stress that we’re not leaving Europe and just walking away.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, sure, but I don’t see any cause for concern. We must achieve friction-less and tariff-free access to each other’s markets – the EU must have tariff-free access to our market and vice versa. That is very important for the prosperity of both markets.” If this is achieved, Garnier believes that business will “continue unchanged”.
Garnier sees great opportunity for striking favourable trade agreements with overseas markets, such as the US, which currently accounts for 23 per cent of British trade. “A tariff-free trade agreement with the US is a big opportunity for British businesses and is among other markets that we hope Britain can have better access to and a better position on the price–demand curve.”
It is the first time since 1983 that the government has had a department dedicated to international trade. Garnier says that the purely economic department, which focuses on trade policy, trade financing and UK export finance, is “working our socks off” to generate revenue for British businesses, including the marine industry.
Pictured: Mark Garnier (centre) talking to Pendennis' Toby Allies (right) at the Monaco Yacht Show.