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Darren takes on trade diplomacy responsibilities at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

CPA, trade, diplomacy, malaysia, commonwealth

Since my election I have worked with the Commonwealth on its human trafficking project, working with Commonwealth nations to harmonise legislation across the world to more effectively deal with the trade in human slaves and the illegal trafficking of workers against their will.

This year, I extended my work with the Commonwealth to include trade diplomacy, an important issue in post-Brexit Britain. In this role, I was invited to join a small trade delegation to Malaysia and Singapore during recess last week. We met with British companies and ex-pats, our High Commissions and trade commissioners as well as parliamentarians, ministers and trade groups in both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Of particular interest to me, is the potential for UK technology exports and the legislation Singapore has put in place to deal with fake news. Defence procurement was also included, important to defence manufacturing businesses in North Bristol.

I also had the privilege to lay a wreath at the Kranji War Memorial in Singapore on the grave of an airman from Bristol, who died as part of the Japanese invasion during WWII.

Whilst in Kuala Lumper, I also met with YTL, which owns Wessex Water and is developing the Filton Airfield (including the proposed Bristol Arena, which sits within my constituency). In line with the extensive feedback I’ve received from constituents, I raised local residents’ concerns about transport infrastructure around the proposed Arena and the need to invest to reduce the risk of gridlock on our roads when events take place. I was told of YTLs investment into road, rail, bus and cycle infrastructure and about the ongoing negotiations with both Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

Britain’s education system is a vital part of our relationship with allies across the world, and I heard many positive stories of scholars from both Malaysia and Singapore who have studied in the UK including Bristol.

When published, you will be able read the formal CPA delegation report here.