Minister for small business hears COVID-19 concerns of IOE and IT members

Fri 24 Apr 2020
Posted by: Ana Pintor
Trade News

Marco Forgione, director general of IOE&IT: The minister’s interest in training during lockdown was “particularly pleasing"

The Institute of Export & International Trade this morning put its members’ concerns to the most senior minister for small businesses, in a meeting that was “extremely positive” for firms engaged in export and import.

Director general Marco Forgione joined leaders of four other trade bodies in a meeting with Paul Scully MP, the small business minister, organised by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. 

“The conversation was extremely positive,” Forgione said. “The minister showed the government understands the challenges UK businesses face, in particular the issues affecting international trade.”

The wishlist that Forgione put to the minister on behalf of IOE&IT members were:

  • The fast tracking of digitising trade documentation
  • An extension to the government’s grant for international trade training to individuals
  • Support for the commercial trade credit insurance market
  • A review of the job retention scheme to learn from Germany’s Kurzarbeit system, which allows people to move in and out of furlough
  • A review of business taxes, including the possibility of reduced corporation tax on export-related profits

“These proposals were warmly welcomed by the minister,” Forgione said.

The digitisation of international trade documentation, some rules about which date back to the 17th century, will hopefully be taken forward, Forgione said, “as it would only require secondary legislation to make happen”.


The IOE&IT's Marco Forgione was one of five trade body chiefs in a virtual meeting with the minister for small business this morning

Grant extension


The Minister’s interest in people using this time for training and professional development was “particularly pleasing,” Forgione added.


 “Such an extension would mean that anyone whether on furlough, without a job or having closed their business can use this time to upskill and achieve qualifications for a career that is in the national interest and where there is a shortfall of more than 50,000 professionals.”


This morning’s meeting, held virtually, follows comments by Liz Truss, the minister for international trade, yesterday that the government intends to stick to ending the Brexit transition period as originally planned on 31 December of this year.


 The other trade bodies present were the British Exporters Association (BExA), the Federation of Small Businesses, Make UK and the Automated Customs and International Trade Association.