UK Trade
The trade deficit narrowed slightly in JanuaryGetty

The head of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is urging British companies, foreign buyers and investors to get behind a prominent global business network event in June to support the government's efforts to boost exports.

Dr Catherine Raines, speaking on the same day the Office for National Statistics revealed that, although Britain's goods trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed in January, the gap with European Union countries was at its widest on record as Britain imported more goods.

Raines head of the government department set up to help UK-based companies succeed in the global economy, was speaking at the launch 100 days ahead of the International Festival for Business in Liverpool from June 13 to July 1.

"The main message I have is one of urging UK companies and overseas buyers and investors to register," said Raines. "The festival is a unique opportunity to forge new international commercial partnerships, meet the global network on our own doorstep and receive trade, investment and financial advice."

The UKTI is working to diversify the type of products exported from the UK and increase amount as well as value, Raines said.

"UKTI is working on targeted export campaigns and it is exactly events like the IFB which help drive up the size of UK export and the value of export," she said. "This year, the IFB is going bigger, better, all under one roof, sold out already, loads and loads of Chinese participants coming, I mean really, an enormous step up from 2014."

The IFB said 40% of delegates expected to visit the three-week festival in summer are foreign. The organisation claims deals made during the 2014 IFB created 10,000 new jobs and brought business to every company that attended.