IOE and IT boss shares new report on services exports with government

Mon 25 Sept 2023
Posted by: Richard Cree
IOE News

Marco Forgione in front of no 11 Downing Street

Last Friday (22 September), Marco Forgione, director general of the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) visited 11 Downing Street to share its latest research report, Global Horizons: Realising the services export potential of UK nations and regions.

Coming on the same day that the FT reported a drop in UK services activity and suggested the risk of recession was higher as a result, it is evident that the UK needs to do all it can to promote services export across all the UK’s nations and regions.

Forgione says the meeting was positive and productive:

“We received a warm welcome from the Chancellor’s team and were able to talk through some of the key insights from the report, including our proposal that the government should establish a services taskforce to make sure we maximise the opportunities for services exports across the UK.

“We know that the UK is a global services superpower, and we want to see every part of the UK realising its full potential.”

Services potential

The report was conducted in partnership with Flint and, for the first time, calculates the Services Export Potential (SEP) of each region in the UK based on a range of factors including economic complexity, workforce skills and connectivity (both physical and digital). This is then compared to actual service exports.

Along with the recommendation for a UK services taskforce, the report also found that there isn’t enough high-quality data on services, especially for some of the UK’s nations. Correcting that lack would be a huge help in understanding the regional picture for the UK’s services sector.

Working with the data that was available, the report concludes that, with a few notable under performers and over achievers, most UK regions are exporting services at broadly the expected level based on their SEP.

This means that to expand UK services exports will require structural investment in things such as education and broadband provision.


This report offers some guidance on which types of investment might have the most impact in each of the UK nations and regions.

After a successful launch reception at the House of Commons, IOE&IT is now taking the report to forthcoming party conferences to further raise the profile of the crucial issue of services exports with senior policymakers and influencers.

IOE&IT is co-hosting a fringe event with the New Statesman at the Labour Party Conference discussing the question 'How can international trade create growth and address regional inequalities?' with a panel that includes Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow Cabinet Office minister and former shadow secretary for International trade.

While at the Conservative Party conference, the IOE&IT is also part of a similar fringe event with The Spectator on 'Unleashing British trade: what's happened to the global Britain dream?', with a panel featuring Lord Frost and business minister Nusrat Ghani.