Trade policy minister sets out future UK-Africa trading relationship


Minister for Trade Policy, Greg Hands, has set out his vision for a positive UK-Africa trading relationship.

Minister for Trade Policy, Greg Hands, has set out his vision for a positive UK-Africa trading relationship.

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International Trade Secretary announces new roles to boost trade around the globe


The Secretary of State has announced the creation of 9 HM Trade Commissioner roles to represent the UK in trade markets abroad.

The Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, has this week announced that the Department for International Trade (DIT) will recruit for a new team of Her Britannic Majesty’s Trade Commissioners (HMTCs) to represent the UK in key markets across the world.

The HM Trade Commissioners, one of the government’s manifesto commitments, will play a vital role as the UK leaves the European Union and takes its place as a global champion of free trade in charge of its own independent trade policy. The HM Trade Commissioners will head the global operations of DIT, leading on export promotion, inward and outward direct investment, and trade policy overseas on behalf of the UK government.

The 9 geographical areas that the HM Trade Commissioners will cover are:

  • Africa
  • Asia-Pacific
  • China
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia Network (EECAN)
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • North America
  • South Asia

The HM Trade Commissioners will be senior Civil Service appointments. It is anticipated that appointments will be confirmed during the first half of 2018.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said:

This is an exciting and challenging opportunity to represent the UK in key markets around the world. We will be seeking the brightest and the best, from both the public and private sectors to use their extensive regional and in-country knowledge, together with their business and government expertise to help build a global Britain.

The new HM Trade Commissioners will be providing a clear vision and direction to my Department’s global operations. That will require providing intelligence on the ground, deciding what tailored action is required in their region, and playing a vital role in our future global trading relationships.

Source: – 27th November 2017

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Call for bids for producing Japan Cyber Security Market Intelligence toolkit


The British Embassy Tokyo is inviting interested parties to submit bids for producing Japan Cyber Security Market Intelligence toolkit to help the UK cyber security companies to capture business opportunities in the Japanese market.

Towards Tokyo 2020, there is rapidly growing need for cyber security in Japan. The UK expertise on cyber security is well recognised in Japan and intensive discussion/collaboration are already happening at government and academia levels. The UK cyber security companies have also started seeing some success.

This project aims to help the UK cyber security companies to capture these business opportunities in the Japanese market, by producing Japan Cyber Security Market Intelligence toolkit. Production of this toolkit would enable the UK companies to understand the current Japanese market situation, make better informed decision on whether enter the market and how to take their next steps, and eventually win contracts. The toolkit will be shared with the UK companies via webinars, seminars, and partners.

Key outputs

The successful bidder should produce a Cyber Security Market Intelligence toolkit by mid March. The toolkit will

  • build on the previous one in 2015, to help UK cyber security businesses in Japan;
  • Provide an overview of the current cyber market in Japan, including market size and prospects, examples of companies currently trading in Japan and the market sectors covered.
  • detail in general terms how Japanese companies purchase cyber security services including decision making process.
  • cover the process for overseas companies to enter the Japanese market (direct sales/partnering etc).
  • provide an assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese cyber security market and market trends and opportunities.
  • cover any other aspect that UK companies need to know in order to successfully win business in the Japanese cyber security market.
  • include information on Japanese government, legal cyber policies, and governance.
  • useful resources for UK companies to refer to

If you have any queries (including the request to access to the previous toolkit in 2015), please contact:

To find out more, including how to bid, please download Provision of a Japan Cyber Security Market Intelligence toolkit (PDF276KB25 pages.

The deadline for bids is 1700 on Wednesday 6 December 2017 (Japan time).


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Report: EU trade agreements in place deliver tangible benefits

New Commission report highlights positive outcomes of existing
EU trade agreements and identifies areas for improvement

The EU has today published a report assessing the implementation of its existing trade agreements. This horizontal report is the first of its kind and sheds light on what happens after trade agreements are negotiated and have entered into force.

The publication is another step towards a fully transparent and inclusive trade policy, in line with the Commission’s commitments set out in the EU’s 2015 ‘Trade for All’ strategy.

Commenting on the report, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The success of EU trade policy is measured not only by striking new trade deals but also by ensuring that our existing agreements actually deliver. The report published today confirms that our trade agreements are a boost for the European economy: they have meant significant increases in exports, benefitting EU firms and their employees. We are also on the right track when it comes to engaging concretely with our partners on labour and environmental standards. In addition, this report has valuable lessons about what we can do better when putting new agreements in place.”

Overall, EU agreements are shown to lead to more EU exports and growth, with major export increases to, for example:

  • Mexico (+416% since 2000)
  • Chile (+170% since 2003)
  • South Korea (+59% since 2011)
  • Serbia (+62% since 2013)

The report shows that it is often the EU agricultural and motor vehicles’ sectors that benefit the most. For example, exports of cars to South Korea have increased by 244% since 2011, and in the case of the agreement with Colombia and Peru there was a 92% and 73% increase, respectively, in the exports of EU agricultural goods.

The report investigates also the impact of the provisions included in the ‘Trade and Sustainable Development’ (TSD) chapters, covering environment protection and labour rights, present in the newer agreements. While it is too early to draw general conclusions on the implementation of sustainable development goals included in the EU trade agreements, given this is a relatively recent practice, there are already numerous examples of positive collaboration on issues going beyond trade liberalisation that have been made possible thanks to these agreements. The EU could for instance engage on issues such as freedom of association, violence against members of trade unions, child labour, labour inspections, collective bargaining, tripartite consultation, and health and safety at work.

The first lessons highlighted in the report in relation to the implementation of sustainable development chapters will fit into the Commission’s broader debate on how to improve the effectiveness of sustainable development rules in our trade agreements, launched with a discussion paper in July of this year.

The report also identifies areas for improvement to increase the benefits of existing agreements. Despite the overall positive impact of trade agreements for EU exports, EU companies do not take full advantage of the opportunities offered. For example, the extent to which EU businesses are using tariff reductions is lower on the EU side than that of our partners. For exports to countries where there are newer trade deals in place, EU companies make use of available duty rebates for around 70% of their exports, whereas our partners use that duty rebate in around 90% of cases.

Also, for some sensitive products, instead of full liberalisation, the EU and its partners agree on limited market openings through tariff-free allowances, known as Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs). The report shows that these possibilities are often underused by EU exporters: for cheese, only 4.3% of the total quota was used for exports to Peru, 7.9% to Colombia and 44% to Central America. The same is true for the use of some the TRQs conceded by the EU on some sensitive products, despite these issues being amongst the most controversial during the negotiations.

The report highlights an increasing need to raise awareness amongst EU companies – particularly small and medium-sized ones – about the opportunities that these deals offer, to expand their exports and grow their businesses.

The report will now be subject to discussion with Members of the European Parliament and Member States’ representatives in the Council. Commissioner Malmström will present the report to Member States’ Ministers at the Council meeting on Friday, 10 November. It will also be a basis for discussion with civil society, the next occasion being the upcoming EU Trade Policy Day on 5 December in Brussels.

For the full report please click HERE

Source: European Commission, 9th November 2017

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Industrial producer prices up by 0.6% in both euro area and EU28


In September 2017, compared with August 2017, industrial producer prices rose by 0.6% in both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In August 2017, prices increased by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28.

In September 2017, compared with September 2016, industrial producer prices rose by 2.9% in the euro area and by 3.3% in the EU28.

Monthly comparison by main industrial grouping and by Member State
The 0.6% increase in industrial producer prices in total industry in the euro area in September 2017, compared with August 2017, is due to rises of 1.5% in the energy sector, of 0.4% for intermediate goods and of 0.2% for durable consumer goods, while prices remained stable for capital goods and non-durable consumer goods.

Prices in total industry excluding energy rose by 0.1%.

In the EU28, the 0.6% increase is due to rises of 2.0% in the energy sector, of 0.4% for intermediate goods, of 0.2% for durable consumer goods and of 0.1% for non-durable consumer goods, while prices remained stable for capital goods.

Prices in total industry excluding energy rose by 0.2%.

The highest increases in industrial producer prices were observed in the Netherlands (+2.9%), Denmark (+1.4%), Belgium (+1.3%) and Greece (+1.2%), while a decrease was recorded in Cyprus (-1.4%).
Annual comparison by main industrial grouping and by Member State The 2.9% increase in industrial producer prices in total industry in the euro area in September 2017, compared with September 2016, is due to rises of 4.6% in the energy sector, of 3.3% for intermediate goods, of 2.3% for non-durable consumer goods, of 1.0% for capital goods and of 0.7% for durable consumer goods.

Prices in total industry excluding energy rose by 2.2%.

In the EU28, the 3.3% price increase is due to rises of 6.0% in the energy sector, of 3.5% for intermediate goods, of 2.7% for non-durable consumer goods, of 1.1% for capital goods and of 1.0% for durable consumer goods.

Prices in total industry excluding energy rose by 2.5%.

Industrial producer prices rose in all Member States. The largest increases were recorded in Belgium (+7.0%), the Netherlands (+6.4%), Bulgaria (+6.0%), Estonia (+5.5%) and the United Kingdom (+5.4%).

Graph: Eurostat Industrial Prices

Source: Eurostat, 7th November 2017

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CIP: Trading between the EU and Canada


This Customs Information Paper (CIP) brings to your attention the introduction of the EU and Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), specifically the preferential arrangements contained therein.

An outline of the preferential arrangements is included in this CIP together with details on how to declare preferential imports on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

Full details on the preferential arrangements can be found within the Official Journal L11/2017 at ‘Protocol on rules of origin and origin procedures’, which runs from page 465 to 566 of the agreement. All page numbers shown in this CIP refer to this document.

In Official Journal L11/2017, dated 14 January 2017, the EU published full details on the EU and Canada CETA.

As part of this agreement certain goods, either originating in Canada for import into the EU or originating in the EU for export to Canada, may be eligible for preferential duty rates in the importing party if the required conditions are met, the basic details of which are explained in this CIP.

The agreement has now been ratified by the Canadian government and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is taking steps to ensure the preferential rates provided for within the ‘Protocol on rules of origin and origin procedures’ section of the agreement are available on the CHIEF system when it enters into force.

This agreement was provisionally implemented on 21 September 2017 as reported in CIP 19 (2017).

For full information on preferential duty rates as a result of the CETA agreement please click HERE

Updated 19th October by

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UKEF announces further Funding Support for SMEs

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is launching a new partnership with five major high street banks to allow smaller businesses to access millions of pounds in government-backed trade finance.

UKEF, as part of the Department for International Trade, provides financial support to help UK companies sell to international customers.

The new partnership with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS/NatWest and Santander was initially agreed in July.

For the first time companies which supply exporters will be able to access UKEF-backed finance to help them to become part of major export contracts.

The partnership is able to offer finance for up to £2m and SMEs can access UKEF support directly from their bank quickly and efficiently, without the need to apply separately.

Where previously it could take weeks in addition to the banks’ own turnaround times to access this support, it will now take a matter of seconds where an application for finance is eligible.

UK SMEs that aren’t yet selling overseas but are supplying products directly to those who are, will also be able to qualify for UKEF support.

Secretary of state for international trade, Liam Fox said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and giving them the support they need to seize international trading opportunities is a priority for the Department for International Trade as an international economic department.

“That’s why we’re partnering with the five major high street banks to make government-backed finance from UK Export Finance readily available, in a matter of seconds, opening up new global contracts to businesses across the UK.”

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), added: “Through our work with the secretary of state for international trade, I am delighted to see the government’s plans to improve access to export finance.

“The success of the UK economy rests on helping more small businesses to export, and export more. FSB research shows 20 per cent of UK small firms already export, and with the right support this could double.

He added: “Today’s announcement of faster and more readily available finance means more small businesses will be able to access growth markets around the world.

“Small firms’ contribution to the UK’s export market is of course not limited to those that sell products overseas.

“Our research highlights that one in six of all UK small businesses also form part of a supply chain of which the end product is exported, so opening up export finance to this group of firms is great news.”

Source: Insider Media, October 2017

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Call: British Consulate-General survey on non-tariff barriers to trade in Hong Kong


The British Consulate-General is capturing business views on non-tariff barriers to trade.

If you are a UK business trading in Hong Kong please take a few minutes to help us gather views on barriers to trade in Hong Kong. Your views are very important to us. The survey questions can be accessed through this link and can be filled in anonymously if you wish.

The survey will close on 30 September.

The British Consulate-General Hong Kong is conducting a joint trade review with the Trade and Industry Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to identify options to overcome non-tariff barriers to the trade in goods and services between the UK and Hong Kong. The Trade Review seeks to capture the business community’s views on what the barriers are and in which sectors they have the greatest impact.

Source: 7th September 2017


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Euro area annual inflation up to 1.5%


Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.5% in August 2017, up from 1.3% in July 2017, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, energy is expected to have the highest annual rate in August (4.0%, compared with 2.2% in July), followed by services (1.6%, stable compared with July), food, alcohol & tobacco (1.4%, stable compared with July) and non-energy industrial goods (0.5%, stable compared with July).

Source: Eurostat, for full article click HERE

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Taming The Dragon to explore business links with China

Businesses looking to build on Sheffield’s expanding links with China are being encouraged to sign up to a number of events designed to help them explore new opportunities in the country. Sheffield City Council has launched its Sheffield China Business Programme, a series of six seminars for businesses to unlock potential opportunities and understand the different ways of working in the country. It comes as the council prepares for a trade delegation to China in November this year.

The seminars begin with Taming the Dragon: An Overview of the Chinese Market, on Wednesday 6 September, starting at 8am at Sheffield Town Hall (Reception Room A). Here, organisers will reveal more about the so-called golden era of UK-Chinese relations and the continuing investment between the two countries.

At the first seminar, Ben Hui, China project manager at Creative Sheffield, will give an overview of China’s market.

Hailing Yu, China business advisor from the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) will give an update on the latest sector specific opportunities for Sheffield companies and Jerry Cheung, managing director of the New Era Square development at St Mary’s Gate, will discuss why China is a great destination for inward investment and share his secrets on how to successfully attract investors.

Duncan Hoyland, export co-ordinator of The Department of International Trade will also tell delegates how the government can support businesses in successfully exporting to China.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield already has an enviable relationship with China, educating thousands of China nationals at its two universities and working closely on the New Era Square development as well as many other projects.

“These seminars will bring in the very best local and international expertise to help businesses explore their own connectivity with China, giving them a tremendous tool-kit to tackle trade overseas.”

Scheduled events: For more information and to book please click the links below

6 September 2017: Taming the dragon: An overview of the Chinese Market

4 October 2017:  Doing Business in China: An Introduction to Chinese Business Culture and Etiquette

8 November 2017: Developing Your Market in China: Sales, Marketing & Business Development

6 December 2017: How to get your Intellectual Property Protected Rights in China?

10 January 2018: Getting paid from China: Advice on Finance and Money Repatriation

7 February 2018: What is the Belt & Road Initiative? What are The Opportunities for Businesses in The Northern Powerhouse? 

The China Business Seminar series is being delivered in association with programme partners:

  • The Confucius Institute
  • China Britain Business Council
  • China Brampton
  • Department of International Trade
  • EasyMoshi
  • International Trade Forum
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Lloyds Bank
  • New Era Development
  • Santander UK
  • Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
  • Sheffield City Region
  • South Yorkshire International Trade Centre
  • Withers & Rogers
  • Yee Kwan Ice Cream.
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