Sir Jeffrey Donaldson: Libya trade envoy role ‘very interesting’

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he had a 'watching brief' on Libyan trade matters
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he had a 'watching brief' on Libyan trade matters

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has described his 11 months as unofficial trade envoy to Libya as “a very interesting experience”.

Mr Donaldson, who still acts as the UK’s trade envoy to Egypt, was replaced in June by North West Norfolk Tory MP Sir Henry Bellingham.

He said he had “a watching brief” on Libyan trade matters pending the appointment of the dedicated trade envoy.

Trade envoys are a network of MPs appointed by the prime minister, drawn from across the political spectrum to engage with one or more emerging markets where substantial trade and investment opportunities have been identified by the UK government. The programme began in 2012 and there are currently 32 envoys covering 62 markets.

Mr Donaldson described his work on Libyan markets as “a very interesting experience” and said that although he didn’t travel to Libya, he met many Libyan representatives and UK businesses involved there to discuss trade issues.

“Their economy is in very bad shape and has a long way to go to recovery,” he added.

His role related only to trade matters and his representations to the government in support of UK victims of Libya-IRA terrorism were dealt with separately as per parliamentary protocol, he added.

The Foreign Office said trade envoys have supported the drive for economic growth by building relationships in key emerging markets and helping British businesses to access significant commercial opportunities.

“Sir Jeffrey Donaldson oversaw the country alongside his remit as trade envoy to Egypt from July 2017 until [Sir Henry] Bellingham’s appointment,” it added. In September Mr Donaldson led over 100 leading UK companies on a five-day trip to Egypt.