Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
The Government has published its new export strategy, ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’, which outlines its plans to build the exporting capability of critical sectors, grow the UK’s economy, and increase annual exports to £1 trillion.
‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ comprises a 12-point plan to help businesses navigate the ever-changing global economy and developing export markets. The Government is hoping that its new strategy will encourage and inspire businesses to export, inform businesses by providing information and assistance about exporting, and connect businesses in the United Kingdom (UK) to overseas buyers and international markets.
The Government has emphasised that the strategy will focus on where markets fail and where government intervention can add better value.
What is the 12-point plan and what does it mean for my business?
The ESS is the Government’s first end-to-end service focused on supporting businesses that export to Europe. Its aims are to simplify guidance and access to support for business, target specific difficulties that businesses are having in exporting to Europe, and promote the opportunities and support that government offers. The ESS has a single point of entry and interactive service provision, working closely with British Embassies and High Commissions to support businesses in-market.
ESS staff can provide guidance on exporting to new markets, the necessary paperwork for selling goods abroad, and country-specific rules for selling services.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has opened offices in all four constituent parts of the UK and a second headquarters in Darlington to ensure that businesses across the country all have access to opportunities to grow their exports.
The Internationalisation Fund will provide 7,500 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with financial assistance to help them internationalise their businesses. Contact our international trade advisors for further information.
SMEs can receive matched grant funding of up to £9,000 to support a range of export-related business activities and help overcome barriers to trade. This includes market research, visits, advice to protect UK intellectual property, attendance at trade fairs, translation services, consultancy, and more.
UKEF – the Government’s export credit agency – will expand its products and delivery network to provide further support for UK exporters and their overseas customers. Working with the Office for Investment and the UK Infrastructure Bank, UKEF will now support companies’ investment into future UK exports.
UKEF’s Export Development Guarantee (EDG) allows UKEF to provide 80% guarantees on loans of £25 million and above to support companies’ general expenditure, including facilities, research and development and general operations. UKEF will expand eligibility for the EDG to companies that do not currently export to help support the development of UK supply chains in high-growth sectors.
UKEF will offer green economy exporters access to increased lending capacity, providing its EDG on extended repayment terms to support the development of exports in clean growth sectors and technologies.
With regard to the General Export Facility launched in 2020, UKEF has increased the amount that smaller exporters can access automatically from their bank without the need for separate approval from £2 million to £5 million.
A new, simplified Bills and Notes Guarantee will be launched to enable SMEs to offer their buyers more attractive payment terms. SME exporters will be paid immediately while a financing bank subsequently seeks payment from the overseas buyers on the basis of bills of exchange or promissory notes.
The Government will focus on a joint approach by connecting governments and business through its global networks. UK Government teams in Embassies and High Commissions around the world will work to build relationships whilst identifying and creating opportunities for major commercial partnerships linked to government-to-government cooperation.
The reach and range of the Export Academy will be extended to deliver bespoke training programmes and digital tools which will enable businesses to navigate the technicalities of exporting and find opportunities overseas.
The Export Academy is an online facility for SMEs, comprising webinars, masterclasses, mentoring, roundtables and networking events. The foundation course helps SMEs build their knowledge of and confidence for exporting, and includes 10 educational online seminars that will help firms create a uniquely tailored export action plan. Market access events will outline the benefits of new market opportunities, including from new Free Trade Agreements.
The UK-wide community of Export Champions will be extended to ensure that businesses are able to build and learn from exporting successes through business-to-business networking and peer-to-peer learning. Over 400 Export Champions will share their knowledge and experiences of exporting by featuring in campaigns, participating in events and panels, hosting ministerial visits and roundtables, offer business insights to inform DIT policy.
The ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign – which hosts trade promotion activities across the country – will champion priority sectors. The campaign includes events, masterclasses, webinars, trade missions, ‘Meet the Buyer’ events, business roundtables, and ministerial visits.
The campaign will focus domestically and internationally in the following sectors: agri-food and drink; financial, professional and business services; creative industries; education; tech and digital; consumer and luxury goods; and clean growth.
The Government will launch its UKTP until April 2023 to promote Team UK at the world’s largest tradeshows. UKTP aims to support SMEs to understand the benefits of exhibiting at overseas tradeshows. Businesses will be supported with training and grants to attend tradeshows as a precursor to making the decision to exhibit there. Some businesses will receive a grant of up to £4,000 to count towards eligible exhibition costs.
The Government has committed to putting exporting at the heart of any reforms to regulations, cross-government measures and regulatory diplomacy to help foster conditions for exporting businesses.
DIT will be prioritising innovation, competition, growth and inward investment to help the UK boost its reputation as a global exporter.
The UK Government’s international teams – currently based in over 180 markets – will be utilised to provide sector and market-specific support for innovative, high growth companies to grow internationally.
New markets will be opened for UK exporters through free trade deals, which the Government hopes will cover 80% of UK trade by the end of 2022. The Government will also undertake broader work to remove market access barriers. The plan also kickstarts the ‘Race to a Trillion’, the goal of which is to push the UK to £1 trillion worth of exports by the end of this decade, meaning more jobs, more opportunities, and higher wages for businesses across the UK.
What is the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s view?
After a challenging two years, the Government’s new 12-point plan is a welcome commitment to businesses throughout the country that are hoping to access fast-growing export markets and capitalise upon untapped opportunities across the world.
According to data gathered in our 2021 Q3 Quarterly Business Report, exports to non-EU markets have risen, despite businesses reporting their concerns about the growing complexity of international trading. With nearly £13 billion worth of goods exported to international markets from the West Midlands in the first three quarters of 2021 alone, it is clear that businesses in Greater Birmingham hoping to launch into international markets will strongly benefit from the Government’s new strategy.
The ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ strategy will no doubt be encouraging for local businesses, with the DIT outlining the key ways in which firms will be supported – from business-to-business networking opportunities to expanded eligibility for the EDG – when deciding to export.
We hope that, in its next steps, the Government is able to provide clearer details about how local businesses can access the opportunities and support outlined throughout the 12-point plan in order to maximise their potential on the global stage.
How can the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce help your business?
Chambers of Commerce across the country will play an important part in bringing this strategy to life. Our International team offers an array of services which support businesses with international trade, including providing training, specialist knowledge, documentation support, translation services, and international trade support.
To speak to our International Trade Advisors to find out more about what the strategy means for your business and what