More sectors complain to DIT about ending grants for exporters to travel to overseas trade shows

Fri 16 Jul 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

More industry sectors, including plastics, marine industries and textiles, are rounding on the government’s decision to end the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) which provides grants for UK exporters to exhibit abroad.

According to Marketscreener, British Marine, Maritime UK and the Society of Maritime Industries, have written a joint letter to the minister for exports, Graham Stuart MP, urging the DIT to retain TAP or risk losing Britain’s global leadership in the maritime sector.

Shipbuilding ‘coming home’

The bodies are urging members to contact their MPs and highlight their concerns, which come weeks before the launch of the government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy which the PM promises will “bring shipbuilding back home”.

Lesley Robinson, CEO at British Marine, said: “With 40% of the UK leisure marine industry’s turnover derived from exports, these TAP grants, although small, are in fact a critical entry level enabler for the many SMEs within our sector, who without it may not consider attending an overseas show at all.”

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has also warned trade minister Liz Truss that the “huge drop in government support comes at a time when the UK needs to strengthen international trade”reports Politics Home.

Fashion victims

The UK’s £26bn fashion and textiles industry has also protested the move, according to Draper’s.

“The decision to cancel TAP without having a viable alternative is catastrophic as we start to come out of the pandemic,” said Adam Mansell, CEO at fashion network UKFT. “It makes little sense when compared to the government’s declared ambitions for ‘Global Britain’ and ‘levelling up’.”

Minister Graham Stuart said that the UK textiles industry has a “great story to tell” at the first British Textile Week last year. The sector exports £3bn with strong growth in markets like the US and Japan.

As reported in IOE&IT News, the DIT has promised “future arrangements” to replace TAP but has yet to reveal what these will be.