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International trade week 2022 - Department of International Trade logo

There are more British businesses that are optimistic about their future trade prospects than not, a new survey has found.

Coinciding with the start of the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) ‘International Trade Week’, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has published new research finding that 42% of firms expect their overseas trade to grow over the coming year.

Under a quarter (22%) expect their trade to decrease, suggesting “net optimism” among UK businesses, the IoD concludes.

‘Global Britain’ showcase

Over 120 events are taking place this week as part of International Trade Week during which DIT hopes to showcase what ‘Global Britain’ is all about, according to Politico’s Morning Trade UK bulletin.

New trade secretary Kemi Badenoch has said the programme of events and workshops has been designed to support SMEs “to take that first step onto the trading ladder”.

Brexit difficulties

Despite the overall optimism, the IoD report also found that firms are still struggling with new post-Brexit rules, with 42% saying new controls and costs had resulted in their EU trade falling.

In a paper titled ‘Enhanced efficiency: Building a UK border fit for the 21st century’, which is being launched tomorrow as part of International Trade Week, the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) and Flint Global have made a series of recommendations on how new digital systems and processes could facilitate easier trade over the UK’s border.

In its foreword, IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione writes that the report sets out “concrete steps that the government can take in the short, medium and long term to start the journey to building a UK border for the 21st century that is the most modern, efficient and resilient border in the world”.

The IOE&IT will be co-hosting the launch of the paper at the Clubhouse on St James Square on Tuesday 1 November at 6pm.

Trade deals

According to City AM, the IoD report also found that the UK’s post-Brexit trade deals have helped to boost UK businesses’ trade confidence.

The IOE&IT is also hosting a free webinar as part of International Trade Week on ‘How to make the most of the UK’s new free trade agreements’ on Wednesday 2 November at 2pm.

Ahead of the webinar, IOE&IT customs and trade specialist Suzanne Alecrim last week said:

  • “The UK’s current and future agreements include several benefits that are designed to reduce barriers to trade.
  • “The webinar will give an overview of these benefits and how firms can make the most of them.”

Other IOE&IT activity

The IOE&IT will be participating in several events throughout International Trade Week, with speakers and a stand presence at Export Academy Live events in Manchester and Birmingham.

The IOE&IT’s director of strategic projects and international development, Kevin Shakespeare, will also be participating in a roundtable discussion about financial support for SME exporters, which is being hosted by UK Export Finance on Friday 4 November.

Forgione has also written a foreword for a report by the Social Market Foundation and Amazon called ‘How e-commerce can boost UK exports and growth’, which is being launched tomorrow morning.