The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) is continuing to grow rapidly and is now an organisation that anyone “actively involved in international trade should want to partner with”, attendees at its annual general meeting (AGM) heard today (8 September).
IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione said the organisation has not yet reached its “destination point” or even the “midway point” of its upward trajectory, and that its continued growth will be built on “the three I’s of influence, impact and ingenuity”.
The event was held at the Lowry Theatre in Salford near Manchester and was attended by over 100 members both virtually and in-person.
IOE&IT chairman Terry Scuoler CBE MIEx told attendees about the achievements of 2021 and the year so far, saying 2022 has already been “a remarkable, stellar year”.
Major achievements he highlighted included:
- IOE&IT membership numbers exceeding 7,000 and being on course to reach 8,000 by the end of 2022
- The expansion of the organisation’s headquarters in Peterborough and new offices opening in London, Belfast, Brussels and Nairobi
- Continued collaboration with government on key projects including the Trader Support Service and Export Support Service
- Attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali and the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva
- The submission of the IOE&IT’s application for Royal Chartered Status
Scuoler also highlighted the IOE&IT’s increased profile in government and the media, as well as the formal establishment of its charitable foundation.
He said he was pleased to say that the “first measurable sum of allocated funds” have already been given to young men and women looking to “develop careers in international trade”.
Forgione said that the rest of 2022 and 2023 will be defined by the Institute’s influence, impact and ingenuity.
On influence he highlighted a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the IOE&IT recently signed with the government of Uzbekistan to enable the landlocked country to “trade more not just with the UK but globally”.
He called Uzbekistan “the growth basket of Central Asia” with the potential to replace some of the trade that has been lost with Ukraine following the Russian invasion, “to address not just food security, but the cost of living crisis and increasing prices”.
Forgione added that the IOE&IT is in conversations with the Department for International Trade (DIT) about leveraging its “knowledge, expertise and technologies” to support the digital trade agreement that the UK launched talks with Ukraine for earlier this month. A key aim of the deal is to support the rebuild of Ukraine’s economy.
Forgione also highlighted that the IOE&IT will in the next eight months launch new ‘Centres of Excellence’ around foreign direct investment, sanitary and phytosanitary controls, the trade of seafood and products of animal origin, as well as trade in services.
On ingenuity Forgione noted the work of the IOE&IT’s director of special projects and international development Kevin Shakespeare.
Shakespeare couldn’t attend the AGM due to attending a House of Commons briefing on the Electronic Trade Documents Bill that is expected to be introduced to Parliament this month.
Forgione described the legislation as “transformative”, saying it “will shape the way that international trade operates not just in the UK, but globally”.
Connecting the bill with the Institute’s international work developing digital trade corridors to enhance trade between the UK and countries like Kenya, Forgione added:
“The IOE&IT is central not just to the development and implementation of this bill, but it is also the prism through which it will be understood and implemented on a global scale.”
Forgione told attendees that a shipment of cut flowers from Kenya to the UK on 16 September will be the first to be facilitated by the digital trade corridor and ecosystem of trust platforms the IOE&IT has helped to develop.
Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the president of the IOE&IT, opened the event and said that the location of Manchester showed the IOE&IT’s “commitment” to be an institute for “the whole of the UK”.
Forgione, who earlier this week attended separate meetings with the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and representatives from Liverpool Freeport, echoed these sentiments.
Members of the IOE&IT board and senior leadership team (left to right): Dominic Broom MIEx (Hon Treasurer), Gary Wattley (chief financial officer), Terry Scuoler (chairman), Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint (president), Marco Forgione (director general), Sangeeta Khorana (chair of the academic board), Kelly Rawles (chief operating officer), Marcel Landau (vice chairman)