By investing in existing and new global connections, and by actively promoting our region in the global marketplace, we will expand our international trading reach and export market. At the same time, we will proactively grow inward investment so that the Midlands continues to be the location of choice for global investors, enhancing regional economic growth. We focus on promoting the wealth of opportunities across our region, whether to those coming here to study, visit or work, and on growing cultural experiences for our communities and our visitors.
The Midlands contributes more than £90 billion to the UK economy through its international activities and we have an ambition to grow this by £26 billion. Our region is a major driver of UK export growth with a 22% share of England’s exports in 2018.
We will continue to work together with private sector partners and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to showcase the Midlands Engine Investment Portfolio. Our shared aim is to promote the range and scale of trading opportunities across our region and the tangible benefits of business growth from international trade. We will stay focused on key markets including USA, Europe, China and India as we build on existing trading links to support our post-Brexit internationalisation strategy. In 2017, we also launched our China Strategy which features five priority sectors, updated in 2019 to ensure that we continue to secure growth in trade and investment.
In 2017, we successfully undertook our first collective promotion of the Midlands at MIPIM, the international property event in Cannes, France, and we will again be attending this event in 2020. Together with the DIT, the Midlands Engine will continue our ambitious schedule of overseas investment missions to connect business with investment opportunities – you can find out more about upcoming opportunities here.
We also work together to increase foreign direct investment (FDI), boost our international presence and develop a combined offer at a scale that is attractive to major investors. The Midlands Foreign Investment Hub, based in Birmingham, is successfully driving inward investment in key sectors, supporting development projects across the region.
Major cultural events offer great opportunities to showcase the region: in 2018 3.4m overseas visitors were attracted and £1.36bn was spent by visitors in the region. And with events such as the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 and Coventry as City of Culture in 2021, along with our world-class universities continuing to attract some of the brightest minds from across the globe, the Midlands Engine will ensure that we grow our presence on the world stage.
Download the Midlands Engine Internationalisation Strategy, launched in February 2019, here.