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Liberal Democrat News 30th March 2012

March 30, 2012 9:42 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Also inside Peter Arnold asks some questions about Scottish independence.

This week Nick Clegg has been representing the UK at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, which was attended by representatives from 53 nations. The Deputy Prime Minister had a number of one-to-one meetings with world leaders, including US President Barack Obama.

The UK delegation, led by the Deputy Prime Minister, called for more vigilance about the spread of potentially dangerous information and discussed progress on attempts to 'lock down' vulnerable nuclear materials.

During his visit to South Korea, he announced that a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Korea had been agreed. The Agreement could bring £500m per year to the UK economy and create £2bn new export opportunities for UK businesses. He also unveiled a new Host2Host agreement which will help British firms win contracts for sporting events like the 2014 Asian Games, the World Student Games in 2015 and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018.

One leader he spent time with was President Pinera of Chile, who rose to prominence in the UK with his handling of the rescue of the 33, trapped miners in October 2010.

They had a wide ranging discussion which covered, among other topics, the global economic situation; the upcoming Rio +20 environment summit (at which both Nick and President Pinera will be representing their respective countries) and tensions between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

Interestingly, President Pinera had a keen interest in Liberal Democrat tax policy. The clearly well-informed President was quick to ask - completely unprompted - whether the Budget had yet been voted on; when the personal allowance might be raised further and how many people had been lifted out of paying income tax. Nick was only too pleased to be able to answer his questions - particularly on lifting two million people out of tax.

A clearly impressed Chilean President hailed the "excellent" tax policy before wishing Nick luck with his efforts to raise the threshold further. Extraordinary evidence of the global recognition that this policy is starting to enjoy.