WE need to find Taunton’s “niche” in the world’s emerging economies to keep Britain in the global race, says its MP Jeremy Browne.

What’s more, some of the energy driving the rapid development of nations needs to power not just our county town, but the nation at large, he added.

Speaking in a question-and-answer session on his book, Race Plan, at The Castle Hotel, Mr Browne said: “A lot of people talk of it being good to engage with Asia – Asia is a massive continent.

“And many people have never heard of the city of Ningbo in China, which is twinned with Nottingham.

“Yet it has a population of six million people, compared to Nottingham’s population of some 300,000, and it is developing very quickly.

“It may be we have to think more intelligently about which bit of, for example, China, we can engage and establish a link with. That means thinking more about where our niche is.”

The Ministry of Cake was a prime example, he said, of Taunton businesses making inroads in an emerging economy.

Chris Ormerod, managing director of The Ministry told the County Gazette: “We, like a lot of food manufacturing businesses have been told to turn our eyes outwards from the UK and towards Hong Kong and China.

“When Jeremy suggested I look at Colombia instead, I laughed – there are only two things that tend to be associated with Colombia, and that’s coffee and cocaine.

“But there are 45 million people, and it’s very Anglicised, very Anglocentric, with a youthful population.”

After a “magnificent” meeting with the Colombian ambassador in the country’s London Embassy three months ago, The Ministry plans to send a fact-finding team to Colombia in the next 12 months.

Chris adds: “I think there are hurdles to overcome, but it’s certainly as interesting prospect.”