What’s HOT and what’s NOT in International Trade

What’s HOT…!

Master Cutler heading to Dubai

Companies from the Sheffield City Region are off to Dubai! The Master Cutler, Richard Edwards has pledged to represent the region during a visit to Dubai in early May 2017.

Following a joint event of the Regional Manufacturing Forum and International Trade Forum in November, attended by over 80 companies, the Master Cutler welcomed a Director from the Arab-British Chamber to the Cutlers’ Hall to present on the opportunities in the Middle East, in the UAE, highlighting specific opportunities in a variety of sectors for UK companies.

The mission will be multi-sector, and will bring additional opportunities as it coincides with Automechanika and the Hardware & Tools Middle East exhibition.

Other opportunities in the UAE are emerging from the forthcoming Expo2020. Between October 2020 and April 2021, Dubai will host the next World Expo. Bringing together more than 180 nations and an international audience of 25 million visitors, it will be one of the greatest shows on Earth.

In preparation for the event, Procurement notices are being published and refreshed on an ongoing basis and will provide opportunities for UK companies.

To find out more and/or register your interest in the trade visit please contact Renate Halton at the International Trade Forum on r.halton@intradeforum.co.uk. Grants may be available in the region for eligible companies.

UKEF – Update

Yes, it’s ok to talk about the Autumn Statement a few months on, as the Chancellor announced additional support through UKEF. In fact, it’s good news for Exporters

  • doubling its total risk appetite to £5 billion, and increasing its capacity for support in individual markets by up to 100%; this will be supported by an improved risk management framework and the use of private insurance markets to reduce Exchequer exposure
  • increasing the number of pre-approved local currencies in which UKEF can offer support from 10 to 40, enabling more overseas buyers of UK exports to pay in their own currency

So, better equipped UKEF can support exporters so that no viable exports fail for lack of finance or insurance.

UKEF’s current maximum portfolio allows £50 billion commitment, but with only approximately £20billion exposed, there is room to get the support you need.

For the full article and to find out more about UKEF click here

Sheffield City Region Growth Hub – Export Support

More locally the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub is open for business.  If you are in Growth Mode, contact the Growth Hub on 03330 00 00 39 or email growthhub@sheffieldcityregion.org.uk to find out how their Advisors can help you in your Export journey.

NB Through DIT, grants may be available for your strategic growth in International Trade and for New Exporters.

See 5 steps to winning business overseas

 What’s NOT so hot….!

Outcome of the Effectiveness of UKTI services

 To keep myself updated I subscribe to a number of updates & newsletters from a variety of sources. So, I was surprised to see the following:

On the 1st December, the UK Parliament published a letter from lain Wright MP Chair of the Business, Energy and industrial Strategy Select Committee to Angus Brendan MacNeil MP Chair International Trade Committee on Exports and the role of UKTI, dated 23rd November 2016.

The letter indicates that they do not feel it appropriate to continue with the inquiry following the decision to leave the EU, and due to the establishment of the new International Trade Committee.

However, the letter indicates emerging findings which is noted to be of relevance for the new Committee which they might wish to consider further.

The Committee published some of the findings from contributors of nearly 100 written submissions, around six hours of oral evidence, and the time given by around 45 SME participants at a workshop as well as another EU member state.

Not huge numbers overall to be honest, and I am sure that not all agree of what has been said.

A summary of headline bullet points is published as follows:

  • The Committee heard evidence of significant flaws in UKTI’s previous operating model.
  • There appears to be an inherent tension between the value & volume export targets.
  • UKTI needs to incubate new export superstars by better supporting established exporters to move in to new markets and expand their sales.
  • Many companies place high value in face-to-face advice and are concerned that online support is often too generic and high-level.
  • We have heard strong endorsements from business for UKTI in-market support, and particularly access to trade shows and trade missions.
  • We have heard concerns about the quality of the OMIS service.
  • The Government has high social capital abroad which can open doors for business that may remain closed to third-parties.
  • Many witnesses to our inquiry found the export support landscape confusing.
  • A number of businesses highlighted specific concerns around interpreting export control requirements and international export regulations.
  • The Committee has heard evidence of mixed performance by International Trade Advisers (lTAs).
  • The UK does not appear to have a strong brand as an exporter.
  • The level of export finance support provided by UKEF appears low relative to counterparts in other countries, and awareness of UKEF also low.

If this is what is thought of the service, there is naturally an opportunity for the new International Trade Committee to follow Ian Wright MP suggestions and address the issues raised.

After all, to date the target of identifying 100 000 New Exporters and doubling exports to £1trillion by 2020 still stands as UKTI became DIT (Department for International Trade).

More details on each of the bullet points can be read in the letter here

Naturally suggestions for new services are not mentioned. What’s your view, what should a revised service offer look like?

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