That is, on average, how often Government Ministers fly to Germany to support British Industry. Admittedly that is an average based only on the last three weeks, but still an impressive statistic.
Not even reshuffles or strikes by Lufthansa could stand in the way of our Ministers coming to Germany, to trade fairs in particular, and beating the drum for British business.
As it happens the three most recent visits have been around transport-themed shows – planes, trains and boats – all sectors in which the UK is particularly strong (do not forget we remain the sixth largest global manufacturer, ahead of France among many notable others).
In the space of 11 working days, our Ministers have:
- Hosted a reception for over 100 British delegates aboard a navy warship in Hamburg at the Shipbuilding, Marine and Machinery trade fair (see above).
- met, at Board level, inward investors in offshore wind at the same fair (although aboard a different ship)
- attended a joint Ministerial meeting at the Berlin Air Show to support the global exporter Airbus, the wings of which are made in the UK
- visited British exporters at that same show
- hosted a reception for more than 250 delegates at the Innotrans railway show in Berlin as well as visiting a dozen companies on their stand.
It is clear that the Government have set their points (as the Germans, particularly at Innotrans, would say) in the direction of prosperity and growth and supporting both new and experienced exporters is a key strand of that work.
The visits of Michael Fallon (twice, and the first of which was within 48 hours of being shuffled in to the Business Minister role) and Department for Transport’s Norman Baker are a clear statement of the importance of export, Germany and trade fairs. And as long as Germany continues to host a third of the world’s trade fairs, we will continue to see both nearly 10,000 British companies over here exhibiting or visiting and Government Ministers supporting them.
Even in the internet age, trade fairs play an enduring role. Real business is done. Large companies will comfortably spend six figures on their stands (not to mention other expenses) as they come out to do business both with Germany and the world.
New exporters will spend less, but many will take the plunge and (often with UKTI support) dip their toes in trade fair waters for the first time – and with the right preparation and, of course, products can come home very happy.
And as long companies need trade fairs for business, UKTI and Government Ministers across all departments will be there (or more precisely, here) to help. However next week, rather surprisingly, we have no Ministers in Germany.
But I’m sure they’ll be back again soon.