August 6 2015.

Andrew Hammond, managing director of Oxford Products, was among 31 business leaders from the UK who accompanied Prime Minister David Cameron on a recent trip to South East Asia.

The gruelling four-day schedule took place in Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, where Hammond got to meet the heads of state and enjoy the full red carpet treatment.

“It was quite something to travel from country to country, missing out all the passport formalities and being whisked in huge cavalcades from airport to hotel to meeting to state banquet to hotel to airport!”

Niceties aside, business was the order of the day and David Cameron lead from the front, his message simple: “the UK is open for business”.  As he spearheaded several negotiations for major infrastructure contracts, it was equally clear that his South East Asian counterparts felt the same way.

Hammond made full use of the experience, meeting with several potential new supply contacts as well as both existing and new customers in each region, but confessed that although he expects Oxford to yield many positive results in the coming weeks and months, “the PM was definitely the best salesman on the trip!”

“The potential for our business in this region is colossal, although it will take time to mature. Two wheels is THE mode of transport, with 43 million motorcycles in Vietnam alone and countless bicycles.

Representing both Oxford Products and the industry more widely, Hammond took the chance to press home the two-wheeled agenda to his politician fellow travellers: “We could learn a lot from the two wheeled culture in these countries to help us to counteract traffic congestion and pollution in our major cities”. Hammond talked over the social and economic benefits of the two wheeled industry to the UK before handing over a supporting MCIA-prepared dossier to the Prime Minister’s personal secretary.

The whistle-stop trade mission, although organised in its entirety by UKTI, is not funded by the UK tax payer.

“We were invited on the trip because of our capabilities and achievements as a business. However, all of the companies paid their own way, which is the way it should be. And yes, it was worth every penny”.