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uk trade

The government has today launched its 12-point strategy to boost the UK’s annual exports to £1 trillion by 2030.

The ‘Made in the UK, Sold to The World’ campaign is intended to give firms the tools to seize new opportunities in global markets.

Currently, the UK exports around £600bn a year, but the Department for International Trade’s new strategy aims to almost double that figure and increase the number of UK firms that export.

Behind the curve

Only around one in 10 businesses export at the moment, which is far lower than the rate in European competitors such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, the government says.

The BBC reports that such targets have been set before, but not achieved. However, other developed countries have seen exports recover more quickly after the pandemic, putting new urgency on the need for the UK to do likewise.

‘Unleash the potential’

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our export strategy will help more businesses start exporting and help those who already export to sell more products to more countries.”

The new strategy includes a new UK Tradeshow Programme, replacing the previous Tradeshow Access Programme (TP), that will be better tailored to helping businesses outside of London and the South East attend events and promote around the world.

The government has also pledged to boost its support for the recently launched Export Support Service, which provides a single point of contact and support for exporters to the EU.

Exports a 'priority'

The Institute of Export & International Trade’s director general, Marco Forgione, welcomed the strategy, saying the decision to boost the Export Support Service was “very positive”.

“Getting support for exporters right should be our top trade priority,” he said. “It is also good to see a new programme to support UK companies to attend trade shows which can be such an important part of the marketing mix.”

Read Forgione’s full response to the strategy here.

TAP replacement

The decision to replace TAP has been welcomed throughout the business community after the move to scrap it in the summer attracted ire from several trade associations.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) was among those that welcomed its replacement, tweeting: “It is hugely welcome to see new targeted support for small firms taking part in trade fairs through the new Pilot UK Tradeshow Programme”.

12-point strategy

The full Export Strategy was published here and contains the following 12 steps to getting the UK to £1tn of exports a year:

  1. Boost the Export Support Service – a new single point of contact for exporters to Europe which has been funded with £45m
  2. New DIT offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a second DIT HQ in Darlington, will offer support across the UK
  3. An Internationalisation Fund for SMEs in England will aim to grow international sales, and has £4 million of support to attend trade fairs
  4. Export credit agency UK Export Finance to expand its products and delivery network, making it easier for exporters to secure business overseas
  5. The government will focus on strengthening a joint approach, connecting governments and business through its global networks
  6. The UK Export Academy will expand to teach SMEs in all parts of the UK how to navigate the technicalities of exporting
  7. ‘Export Champions’ will help businesses learn from exporting successes through networking and peer-to-peer learning
  8. The ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign will champion the UK’s priority sectors
  9. A “bigger and better” UK Tradeshow Programme will be targeted to help SMEs exhibit at the world’s biggest tradeshows
  10. Exporting will be “at the heart of reforms to regulations, cross-government measures and regulatory diplomacy” to help exporting thrive
  11. International teams in more than 180 global markets will provide sector and market specific support
  12. New markets will be opened for export with new trade deals aiming to cover 80% of UK trade by the end of 2022, and broader work to remove market access barriers