17 March 2014
The Rt Hon George Osborne MP
To achieve your ambitious goal to double the UK’s export target to £1 trillion by 2020, we recommend more support is given to SMEs who are already trading overseas. We also advocate that the Government adopts a greater role as a facilitator which signposts exporters towards organisations that can provide vital help such as The Institute of Export, UK Export Finance and UK Trade and Investment.
Research plays a vital role international trade – and exporters seeking to break into complex markets incur high, upfront investment costs in critical areas such as research and development and travel.
The Institute recommends extending The Patent Box – a reduced corporation tax rate introduced on April 1, 2013, for companies who generate income from patents – to existing exporters and businesses seeking to extend into new markets…Such incentives would go a long way to support and help fund their research and investment necessary for new markets and encourage businesses to plan their growth. Tax breaks or holidays would be useful to any company entering new markets as a support until the first sales start coming in.
We also advocate creating a Targeted Export Support Fund that would be administered by UK Trade & Investment’s International Trade Advisers and supported by ourselves in conjunction with the Association of Chartered Accountants.
Providing technical support for exporters, which would entail experts giving them a fast response to their queries, would be a real help. Currently, there is no clarity on all issues with separate responses coming from many areas such as HMRC helpline that can take up to 2-3 weeks to respond.
The Institute is already equipping exporters with online information via a series of checklists on the basics of importing, exporting, selling and exhibiting overseas would also be invaluable.
Please also consider that larger companies – medium sized businesses and above, are more likely to make a sizeable contribution to doubling the value of UK exports. While such companies will have greater resources available, and may not be eligible for formal government support programmes, it is nevertheless important that government supports their efforts to the greatest extent possible. It has been appreciated that the Trade Access Promotion Programme that takes companies to exhibitions across the world has been utilized and has proved to be working and we would encourage more of this programme over the next few years.
A substantial investment in developing greater skills in the mechanics and strategy of international trade would enable them to invest in their staff, compete more effectively in complex global markets, and to take advantage of existing opportunities.
There is no quick fix with exporting and it is vital that we listen to – and act on – what businesses need to broaden their export horizons. The Institute commissions an annual International Trade Survey conducted by Trade and Export Finance Limited (TAEFL) whose findings will be presented to government agencies and banks after the results are revealed this May. Regarded as one of the most authoritative studies of exporting practice among the UK’s SME community, the survey’s key topics include Government initiatives for exporters.
Ensuring an understanding of – and embedding professionalism in international trade – from an early age by engaging with young people can help channel them into careers in exporting which will continue to drive job creation and boost the economy. The Institute’s commitment to this is reflected in our ambition for 2014-15 is to engage with 10,000 young people aged between 8 and 30 – providing them with an experience of the fascinating world of international trade and enterprise via a series of interactive workshops around the UK.
We would be happy to meet and discuss our suggestions in more detail with you. In the meantime, please visit our website for more information on the IOE’s business membership, training and qualifications or contact us if you have any questions.