The government has launched a new plan to help UK manufacturers double exports and sell products around the world.
The 12-point export strategy, called 'Made in the UK, Sold to the World', aims to give businesses the tools to reap the benefits of the UK’s recent free trade deals.
It includes an Export Support Service that offers a one-stop shop for exporting advice, and the launch of a new UK Tradeshow Programme better-tailored to help businesses, particularly those outside London and the South East, to attend and promote their products around the world.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) will also be expanding its Export Academy – launched in October – to roll it out across all of the UK including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The academy will invite owners and managers of SMEs to access masterclasses, roundtables and networking events that help them overcome common challenges first-time exporters face.
The UK exported £600 billion in goods and services last year, but only around one in 10 GB businesses currently export – with the number of goods exporters falling behind continental competitors like Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The government says unlocking the UK’s exporting potential will help level up the country and boost the economy, with government-commissioned research estimating that exports supported 6.5 million jobs across the UK in 2016, and showing that exporters pay higher wages. Separate analysis shows that goods exporting businesses are on average 21 percent more productive.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is calling on businesses to ‘Race to a Trillion’ by seizing huge untapped opportunities on offer in the world’s fast-growing markets.
Secretary of state for international trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, commented: “This is a defining moment in our national trading story. As we agree ambitious new trade deals around the world, it is more vital than ever that businesses across the UK take advantage of these opportunities and unleash their full exporting potential.
“Our export strategy will help more businesses start exporting and help those who already export to sell more products to more countries. Reaching £1 trillion worth of exports by the end of this decade means more jobs, more opportunities and higher wages helping the UK to level up and build back better.”
Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation added: “For ‘Brand Britain’ to be recognised and successful across the globe, government must ensure business has the necessary tools, information and support that will improve the country’s trade performance. As such industry will welcome much in the revised export strategy which will help boost a continued recovery that delivers growth across all regions of the UK.
“However, this comes at a challenging time for manufacturers as export volumes are down for a variety of factors, not least that trading with our most important and neighbouring market has become far more challenging with some companies abandoning the EU altogether. As such Government must step up its efforts to work with the EU to seek mutually beneficial improvements to the trading relationship. The new trading environment has ramped up cost, caused import and export delays, and is hampering smooth trade as companies struggle to recover from the COVID pandemic.
“Furthermore, given industry accounts for half our exports if the UK is to unlock a world of opportunity for companies as they continue to export and look for growth into new markets, we need to see the Export Strategy deliver support for growing manufacturing exports.”