£1 trillion goal for Government exports push

The Government has unveiled its strategy to push exports to £1 trillion and the support measures it plans to introduce to help this happen.

The announcement came as part of the international trade and investment week that was launched last week by the Department of International Trade (DIT).

The campaign is intended to “champion local export success stories and promote opportunities in international markets to take advantage of the global demand for the high-quality goods the UK is known for”.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK makes some of the best products in the world, but only 1 in 10 businesses currently export around the world. I want this International Trade Week to be a catalyst for businesses to sell to new markets and take advantage of the trade deals we are negotiating.

“My department has a clear message to any business thinking about exporting for the first time. There has never been a better time to export. Our industry experts in trade and investment hubs around the UK and based around the world will stand shoulder to shoulder and give you the support you need to take the next step on your exporting journey and sell to the world.”

The Government set out its 12-point plan for ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’. These include:

• New Export Support Service (ESS) to support businesses exporting to Europe;

• New UK DIT offices with dedicated teams to focus on extending the opportunities from the Government’s international trade work across the UK;

• Providing 7,500 SMEs in England with financial assistance to internationalise;

• UK Export Finance (UKEF) export credit agency to expand its products and delivery network;

• Expand UK Export Academy to offer bespoke training programmes to help businesses navigate the technicalities of exporting;

• Pilot UK trade show programme to promote Team UK at the world’s largest trade shows;

• Put exporting at the heart of reforms to regulation;

• Use the Government’s international teams to provide support for innovative, high-growth companies to help them grow internationally;

• Continue to open new markets for UK exporters and remove market access barriers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the strategy: “This strategy is all about helping you make the most of our new-found freedoms by bringing the whole Government together to deploy a cornucopia of trade outposts in distant lands, experts to provide the support you need, trade shows to put you in the international shop window, finance for those who need it and more besides so that businesses large and small, from every sector, in every part of the United Kingdom can start selling to every market in the world.”

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Commenting on the strategy, David Osborne, managing director of Roman, said: “We greatly welcome the new government initiatives, but there has always been good support available from the Government on a local and national level for export assistance. International sales require patience, but moreover, a clear strategy to establish a differential and a niche. Roman’s export business is based around hotel specifications with the major groups and this is based around unique manufacturing capabilities that offer solutions that integrate shower enclosures, anti-slip trays and solid-surface vanity tops with furniture. Roman has been successfully exporting for 20 years – but has given international sales much more focus over the past 10 years. In 2017, Roman was awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade and currently exports to over 70 countries and every continent.”

Simon Bodsworth, managing director of Daval Furniture, commented: “2022 will usher in a celebration of British design and manufacture and with the ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign being rolled out nationwide, SMEs really need to consider how they can capitalise on the latest free trade agreements. So to have a plan and strategic approach in place as UK exports are predicted to hit the £1 trillion mark by the mid-2030s is critical for commercial success. The Government campaign will help reinforce British manufacturers’ positions on a global market, but it will also drive more enquiries to SMEs.

“I have found the level of support and advice actually higher than expected. I think if the industry doesn’t take heed and start to make export the norm, companies are only going to believe it’s reserved for the larger players and over time this will actually become the case.”

Commenting on the move, Mike Cherry, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This strategy, properly executed, will open up a lot of opportunities for small exporters, while helping to address some of the challenges they currently face on a daily basis.

“It is hugely welcome to see new targeted support for small firms taking part in trade fairs. Against a backdrop of supply chain disruption, the introduction of import checks and spiralling shipping fees, swift installation of these many welcome measures is a must. Delays will only dampen the spirits of small exporters who are keen crack on.”

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