The government’s overseas trade department recorded £24.4bn in ‘export wins’ for the 2019-2020 financial year, figures released today (6 July) show.
This represented a decrease of £2.8bn for the Department for International Trade (DIT) compared to the previous financial year in which it recorded wins of £27.7bn.
The 2019-20 financial year will be remembered by traders for disruption caused by the protracted parliamentary wrangles over Brexit, the general election in December and the introduction of lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic spread to the UK.
What is an ‘export win’?
DIT defines an ‘export win’ as “a deal, contract, sale, or other specific type of agreement for an eligible UK company which has resulted from support provided by the DIT network”.
They are used as a metric for DIT’s objective to “promote and provide support to UK exports” and were the primary measure of performance in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years.
Since 2018, the emphasis on export wins has been reduced as DIT has prioritised securing post-Brexit trade deals, reducing trade barriers and delivering regional trade plans through its overseas network.
Opportunities and barriers
Consequently, the number of businesses responding to the export opportunities published online by DIT has also reduced from 2.97 per posting in 2018 (calendar year) to 2.39 in 2019.
The department’s focus on removing trade barriers has seen it fully or partially resolve 14% of the 1,238 trade barriers recorded in the financial year of 2019-20.
Trade barriers are recorded using the Digital Market Access Service (DMAS), through which officials across government “collaborate in capturing, assessing, tracking and attempting to resolve selected barriers”.
Businesses can also notify DIT of barriers using the online ‘Report a Trade Barrier’ service on great.gov.uk.