The importance of treating international trade as a serious profession and embedding it into the nation’s psyche has been emphasised at a summit spearheaded by the Institute of Export.
IOE Director General Lesley Batchelor, OBE joined a powerful line up of presenters for the one day event at Gresham College, entitled, “Exporting: if we keep doing what we’re doing…”
Attended by business leaders, the summit aimed to help influence and shape the exporting agenda – urging the government to adopt a more professional approach if its goal to achieve £1 trillion in exports by 2020 is to come to fruition.
Lesley Batchelor, commented: “With the UK deficit still widening it’s vital that we change the way we’re exporting and start to acknowledge international trade as a profession. An understanding and awareness of its importance should therefore be embedded in the nation’s psyche from school onwards.
“SMEs will undoubtedly play a prominent role in achieving these export goals and, as thought leaders and influencers in international trade, the Institute is committed to supporting exporters and advising policy makers.”
Fellow presenter Bernadette Byrne of thebigword who sponsored the event, warned that £48 billion in export revenue is lost by SMEs due to poor language skills. She also revealed how entries for A-level French and German fell by more than half between 1996 and 2012 – with the number of pupils taking a GCSE language also plummeting.
The speaker line up also included IOE Vice President Lord Empey, OBE who said it was essential that the UK rediscovered its rich international trade heritage and called on the government to give businesses more support. Lawyer Keith Arrowsmith highlighted the importance of intellectual property while Nicholas Niggli from the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK advised on how to take advantage of policy and trade opportunities in the field of government procurement.
John Burbidge-King of Interchange Solutions discussed the implications of the Bribery Act 2010 on business and whether it was either useful or an impediment while Peter Andrews from the Bank of England conveyed how the global economy was continuing to expand steadily despite economic and financial challenges.
Added Lesley: “We were delighted to receive very good feedback from the summit. It was Albert Einstein who said: “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting the results you’ve been getting” and the event reinforced the critical steps required to embed professionalism into international trade.
“The need for world trade has never been greater and the businesses that really succeed are those who are equipped with the skills and competences necessary to differentiate – be it through product or service.”