International Trade Week 2023 provided 'great platform' for businesses looking to trade overseas

Mon 13 Nov 2023
Posted by: IOE&IT team
Trade News

International Trade Week 2023 logo

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT)’s annual International Trade Week programme has been hailed as providing a “great platform” for businesses and policymakers to get together to share thoughts and best practice around international trade.

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) supported the third iteration of the annual programme, with its experts hosting, speaking at or attending several events.

The IOE&IT Daily Update caught up with four of the team who participated this year.

‘Great platform’

Ana Sofia German, a trade agreement specialist in the IOE&IT’s policy team, attended multiple events, saying the programme provided an “excellent opportunity for the team to engage in workshops and discussions tackling pressing trade issues.”

“Discussions brought together experts from both the private and public sectors to explore key trade topics, including how the Atlantic Declaration could enhance US-UK trade cooperation and the potential impact of the EU's CBAM on businesses.

“The week's events provided a great platform for fostering the exchange of ideas and facilitating knowledge transfer, benefiting both businesses and policymakers alike.”

Advice and guidance

Will Barns-Graham, the executive editor at the IOE&IT, welcomed DBT’s offer to host a webinar on the UK’s accession to CPTPP – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – as part of this year’s programme.

“This was the third year in a row we’ve hosted a webinar as part of International Trade Week and I’d like to thank the team behind the programme for inviting us.

“The CPTPP webinar came at an important time, with the deal formalising UK membership in the bloc likely to enter force sometime next year. The panel gave some great advice on the benefits of CPTPP for UK businesses, as well as what they can start to do now to start preparing for it.

“We were also delighted to include two case study companies – The Tracklement Company and Ronhill – as part of this. Both businesses already trade CPTPP members and were able to give an inspiring account of their successes and challenges in trading with these countries.

E-commerce events

Several e-commerce events also took place during the week with digital trade with countries such as the US, Germany and India prominently featuring.

Susan Roe, the secretariat lead for the IOE&IT-convened E-Commerce Trade Commission, took part in several events as part of the programme, including a session on how to sell online to India and a conference in the Midlands.

She noted that, at the latter, sessions on emerging technologies and platforms, including AI and TikTok, were extremely well-attended, saying they were “standing room only”.

“The business attendance and types of questions asked during the sessions and on the E-Commerce Trade Commission stand at the Midlands conference really demonstrated how much appetite there is for businesses to increase their digital presence and sell cross border.”

She added that Amazon, Shopify and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) were among the board members of the E-Commerce Trade Commission to have participated in International Trade Week events.

Networking and profile building

Paul Brooks, the head of the IOE&IT’s UK nations and regions team, attended a peer-to-peer networking event in Perth, Scotland, that was hosted by the Food & Drink Export Council and supported by DBT.

He said the event was “extremely well-attended” with iconic brands Walkers Shortbread and Nairn’s Oatcakes among those at the show.

He attended alongside IOE&IT customs and trade consultant Laura Williams, who presented at the event.

“After an excellent lunch –as you would expect at a food and drink event – there were several breakout sessions with Laura running a very well-attended session on getting samples into the EU. Post-event, Laura has received excellent feedback and there are a number of businesses that we are following up with.

“It was an ideal opportunity for us to raise our profile in Scotland, with face-to-face meetings taking place with DBT Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, the Food & Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) along with the food and drink team from Santander.”

The summit was the first to take place as part of a roadshow that FDEC is running across the UK, with the next event in Northern Ireland on 6 February 2024, followed by event in Wales and regions in England. The IOE&IT will be represented at each event.