The Department for International Trade (DIT) has promised a new approach to its support for British businesses when it revamps its export strategy in the near future.
This follows calls from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) for the UK to match the support other countries, such as Canada and Australia, offer exporters.
Other trade bodies have criticised the department’s recent scrapping of the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP), which helped exporters with the costs of attending trade exhibitions abroad.
In response, DIT has said that the UK has “generous and comprehensive” packages of support to help exporters take advantage of the trade deals it negotiates.
A DIT spokesperson said: “We want tradeshows that work better for businesses in every part of the country, and support our vision for an export-led recovery from the pandemic. We look forward to setting out this new approach ahead of our revamped Export Strategy later this year.”
DIT said it regularly looks to review its support for exporters, with the refreshed export strategy set to outline its vision for an export-led recovery from the pandemic.
While tradeshows offer a great opportunity to UK exporters, DIT believed there was a need do more to help businesses across the UK and to target those who are best positioned to benefit from trade shows.
Just under a half (45%) of the business who benefited from TAP were based in London and South East.
The DIT said it would utilise UK Export Finance, the reformed GREAT promotional campaign and the new Enhanced International Support Service to ensure that it connected exporters to more opportunities across the globe.
Other examples of DIT support for exporters include:
- The Internationalisation Fund: Open to SMEs in England that have significant potential to grow international sales, this scheme has provided £4m of support to firms attending trade fairs
- Virtual trade missions: Set up to support UK businesses in key markets. A recent mission saw 600 UK businesses engage with the Japanese market between March-June 2021
- Export Champions: A community of experienced exporters who share their expertise with UK businesses looking to export. As of 30 June 2021, it included 427 individuals
- International Trade Advisors (ITAs): Dedicated advisors that build long-term relationships with businesses to build their exporting credentials. In 2018/2019, ITAs supported more than 7,000 businesses across the UK