International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced a new drive to demolish bureaucratic barriers to international trade, a move which could benefit British exporters to the tune of £20bn.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) is looking to resolve 100 priority issues around the world currently blocking British trade.
These include, among others:
- Restrictions on UK lawyers operating in Japan
- Rules delaying British medical devices entering South Africa
- Regulations on meat exports to Asia.
Appetite for British goods
Trevelyan said a “bonfire of the barriers” would help satisfy the global appetite for British goods and services.
“Unlocking new markets and global customers means more opportunities for UK firms to grow their businesses and support local jobs. That is why we are working hard on getting rid of barriers,” she said.
Speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce conference at the QEII conference centre in London, Trevelyan said she would deploy DIT specialists to examine the obstacles blocking UK exports and work out how to sweep them away.
"Every week we remove trade barriers somewhere around the world, helping more and more businesses,” she said.
The Express reports that opening up the Chinese market for lamb exports for the first time could unlock trade worth around £1.5bn, while sweeping away curbs on selling beef in South Korea would be worth £2.5bn.
Using greater freedom to remove trade barriers following the UK’s departure from the EU, the DIT has supported the removal of around 400 barriers across more than 70 countries in the last two years.
Reuters notes the ministry’s acknowledgement that many remaining barriers could take years to remove, citing the expected five-year wait to remove South Korean restrictions on British beef.
DIT worked with Chinese authorities to remove animal testing requirements for many beauty products in China, opening up a market worth £500m and helping brands such as Unilever’s cruelty-free REN brand to export to China for the first time.
Dr Carl Westmoreland, from Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre, said: “The regulatory change in China was a significant step forward for cruelty-free cosmetics in the country, and we commend the Department for International Trade for its role in driving forward this important opportunity for cruelty-free brands.”
Anthony Stewart, a regional manager at veterinary corporation VetPlus, said his business had benefitted from overcoming bureaucratic issues to allow the export of pet supplements to India worth £1.4m over five years.
“Being able to meet the different compliance requirements across the markets we operate in is extremely important to ensure the availability of our products for vets and pet owners,” he said.