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David Cameron has pledged to put British business at the heart of the Government's foreign policy, insisting the UK must act now to maintain the edge in "the global race".
In a speech to the annual Lord Mayor's banquet in the City of London, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of eight Trade Envoys to promote UK businesses in emerging economies, and outlined details of a new £8m fund to strengthen overseas business groups such as chambers of commerce.
Mr Cameron promised a "new commercial focus" for foreign policy, and urged diplomats to become "economic ambassadors" for the country.
"There are valuable markets out there that just haven’t received the attention from government that they deserve. Places like Mexico, Kuwait, Vietnam, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, South Africa and Morocco. And we need to do more to get Britain into these markets now," he said.
"I know there are some people who say that’s not real foreign policy. Or worse still, it’s just globetrotting.
"But I say – there is a global race out there to win jobs for Britain and I believe in leading from the front. So I make no apology for linking Britain to the fastest growing parts of the world."
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