07 September 2018, 11:58 AM
  • In the wake of Brexit, the trade status between the UK and the EU remains uncertain, but some UK businesses are finding alternate options on international waters.
New export hope for small UK businesses

This August saw the launch of a new export strategy by the UK government, aimed at helping businesses of all sizes dip into the global economy. The project is a result of a collaboration between UK businesses and the government, as Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion states in an interview with CBI: “it is UK companies that export, not the government.” Over 200 businesses across the United Kingdom were brought in for consultation, with the ultimate goal of buffing exports into 35% of the country’s GDP.

The strategy focuses on four main points, says Fairhead, “encouraging businesses to export and attracting overseas customers to consider UK goods and services, informing companies about exporting, putting finance at the heart of our offer, and connecting UK businesses to overseas opportunities, buyers and each other.” It is the first independent trade policy the country has had to develop in more than 40 years, so it will be built around the systems that are already in place and assisted by multiple facets of government.

Specifics of the plan include a dedication to facilitating trade by decreasing market access issues, providing contacts and information, and increasing trade missions, supplier fairs, agreements between UK and international governments. It is targeted at both businesses that want to expand their international presence and ones that want to establish ones, with a network of Export Champions who are available for one-on-one support. The project will also encompass the UK Export Finance, a source of financial support and solutions for both exporters and export suppliers.

It is already having a palpable effect on British business owners, with Gary Santino reporting “new Export Strategy from the Department for International Trade seems to have really livened up the expectations of even the most newest of Food and Drink companies.” The Speciality & Fine Food Fair, which showcases up-and-coming fine food companies, saw a positive reaction from participants. Santino says “As the majority of the owners and managers of these wonderful new companies [at the fair] were, already seeing the opportunities that export presented to them as a central part of growing their businesses as soon as they were ready.

With 90% of global economic growth in the next 10-15 years focused outside the EU, the Export Strategy will provide UK businesses with an opportunity to participate in the flourish global market. The rapidly changing state of the British trade scene has resulted in businesses owners approaching their role in the international market differently. “This you may think is obvious,” says Santino, “however if I reflect back around a year or so ago whilst speaking to similar companies at the Farm & Deli Show at the NEC, the feedback was somewhat different, has Brexit focused our minds to the realities of the opportunities that are out there globally if you wish to seek them.”

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