Export convention put off after Trade Minister pulls out

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THE Yorkshire Institute of Directors has postponed its export convention after Trade Minister Lord Green pulled out.

The Momentum Gathering event was part of the Yorkshire Business and Arts Festival, featuring headline speaker the Dalai Lama.

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott had already cancelled his appearance at the festival in case it offended his political connections in China, organisers said.

A spokesman for UK Trade & Investment said Lord Green, the former chairman of HSBC, would unfortunately be out of the country on a trade mission associated with the forthcoming G20 meeting in Mexico.

He insisted the decision had “nothing to do with [the Dalai Lama] at all”.

The convention on June 18 promised to deliver practical, informative and entertaining advice for every business in the region looking to export.

Kenton Robbins, regional director of the IoD, said he was deeply disappointed but felt it was better to reschedule to later in the year.

He added: “We have encountered unforeseen circumstances beyond our control coupled with this Lord Green has been forced to pull out.

“We are now looking forward to delivering the same value and insight in the autumn in conjunction with our partners UKTI, Leeds Metropolitan University and event exhibitors as part of our commitment to the Yorkshire business community.”

The Dalai Lama is due at the Yorkshire International Business Convention (YIBC) in Leeds this Friday.

Organiser Mike Firth said the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is appearing in a non-political role and will talk about humanity and ethics.

The festival was originally to have lasted for four days, but Mr Firth decided to cancel the weekend arts programme due to a lack of support.

Nonetheless, tickets are virtually sold out for the Leeds and Bridlington events on Friday.