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 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 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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Sheffield City Region to host HORASIS 2017

Horasis 2017, a global economic summit designed to set the agenda for worldwide collaboration, is to be held in the Sheffield City Region.

The Sheffield City Region local enterprise partnership (LEP) was invited to bid to host the event in 2016 following the appointment of Sir Nigel Knowles as chairman.

Heads of government, ministers and influential investors will descend upon Sheffield in November next year to investigate strategies that will shape the global economy and forge new approaches to pressing social, economic and geopolitical challenges.

Horasis 2017 will also attract chief executives from around the world.

Sir Nigel said: “With everyone pulling together, and a great sense of community, we are achieving transformational change and building a thriving, super-connected and successful economy.

“The organisers of this important international conference have made this excellent decision because of the growing confidence and interest from global investors in Sheffield City Region.

“Last year more than 1,000 jobs were created here by international companies and this growth has brought in £97m in capital investment.”

Dr Frank-Jürgen Richter, chairman of Horasis, praised the Sheffield City Region as having an “international outlook which is ahead of the game in defining the issues that need to be tackled by global economies”.

“I have visited the city region and was very impressed by what I saw,” he added.

“I am certain we will learn a lot from this meeting of global leaders and I am very much looking forward to Horasis China 2017.”

Source: Matthew Ord, Insider Media, 9th November 2016

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Flybe launches new route from Doncaster Sheffield with connections to the US & Canada

A new Dublin route with Flybe from Yorkshire’s Doncaster Sheffield Airport will add extra US destinations for passengers from the region connecting via the Irish airport.

WashingtFlybe launches new route from Doncaster Sheffieldon and Connecticut will now join the existing North American cities, New York, Chicago, Boston and Toronto in Canada, which are accessible via Dublin from Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The five times a week flight to Dublin with Flybe, which will replace the current Stobart Air service will offer all these destinations with effect from 1 November 2016 under Flybe’s codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus.

This route brings the advantage to travellers of being able to clear US immigration in Dublin Airport before connecting on to the US, saving time upon arrival into the US.

Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “This is welcome news for both business and leisure travellers, who enjoy visiting the Irish city and also to be able to extend the local option to travel to destinations in America and Canada via the onward connectivity this route offers.

“We are really pleased to see further growth and diversity in the routes offered by Flybe since their launch earlier this year. Dusseldorf, Chambery and now Dublin have been added to the original roster, making it 11 destinations available with Flybe from us.

Vincent Hodder, chief revenue officer at Flybe, added: “Today’s news further strengthens our ‘One Stop to the World’ offering for our Doncaster Sheffield Airport customers who can now travel with us to Dublin and benefit from the convenient, seamless onward connections available from there onwards to the US and Canada with our codeshare partner, Aer Lingus.”

Source: Laurence Kilgannon, Insider Media, 21st October 2016

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£28bn growth plan to be unveiled

A £28bn plan designed to underpin the economic growth of the Sheffield City Region, creating 70,000 jobs and 6,000 businesses, will be unveiled today (19 October 2016) at MIPIM UK.

The Integrated Infrastructure Plan – known as IIP – will outline how improvements being made to infrastructure across the region’s nine districts will be sped up.

Major projects identified as priorities include the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District; Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the surrounding area; maximising the benefits of HS2 in the region; and regeneration in town and city centres.

A team of private and public sector leaders and senior officers from Sheffield City Region will present the proposal at the country’s largest and most influential property and development showcase.

Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster and chair of the Combined Authority Infrastructure Executive Board, said: “Our region is a great place to do business and we already have a track record of delivering new infrastructure projects that bring economic growth, job creation and new housing.

“Schemes like Great Yorkshire Way, which opened earlier this year, linking Doncaster Sheffield Airport to the motorway network, demonstrate that putting the right infrastructure in place can have a huge impact.

“This plan is a visionary way forward and is designed to help the region achieve its ambitious key targets. I am very proud to have been involved with it and will be working hard with all our partners to ensure its success.”

Martin McKervey, a partner at international law firm Nabarro, chairman of the Sheffield City Region’s Infrastructure Development Group and a private sector board member of the Sheffield City Region LEP, added: “Delivering this plan will help make SCR ready for investors, and play a key part in the Northern Powerhouse.

“Thanks to devolution, and the funding it will bring, the plan can underpin our path as we take greater control over our future economic prosperity.

“It’s an exciting time for the Sheffield City Region and we can look ahead confident that we have a robust and pragmatic plan for achieving economic growth and jobs.”

Source: Matthew Ord, Insider Media, 19th October 2016

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Growth to accelerate at Award-Winning Family Business

Growth to accelerate at award-winning family business

Growth is set to accelerate at a Queen’s Award-winning family business with the benefits of relocating to larger premises earlier this year already being felt, new accounts covering the period leading up to the move have revealed.

Pricecheck is a second generation family owned business, established in 1978 by the parents of Mark Lythe and Debbie Harrison, who now run the company as joint managing directors.

A supplier of international branded consumer goods, Pricecheck works predominately in the health and beauty sector, dealing with discounted clearance stock.

In February this year, Pricecheck relocated to larger premises in Beighton (pictured) where it has sufficient space to accommodate the rapid growth experienced by the business.

In accounts for the year to 30 April 2016, Pricecheck said it had already experienced a 25 per cent uplift in turnover from the first six months of operation at Old Colliery Way. The company’s workforce also topped 100 for the first time at the end of August.

Despite the distraction and costs associated with the relocation, Pricecheck maintained its growth through 2015/16, increasing sales from £40.5m to £43.6m and net profit after tax by 4.6 per cent to £816,424.

In 2015, Pricecheck scooped a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, reflecting the growth of its overseas activity since developing a dedicated export strategy in 2009.

The company today supplies retailers in more than 70 countries and export sales made up £14.3m of its total turnover in 2015/16.

Relocating to larger premises is designed to support plans to double turnover to £80m, and increase staff numbers to 150, over the next five years.

A spokesman for the business said: “The new building and larger team are expected to drive sales beyond £50m in the current year and our new product categories of food, confectionary, soft drinks and pet care have been particularly successful.”

Source: Laurence Kilgannon, Insider Media, 12th October 2016

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University agrees International Engineering Exchange

The University of Sheffield has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nanjing University to contribute to a three-way exchange programme that also involves Ohio State University in the US.

The three universities will hold summer programmes to support undergraduate engineering students to work together to innovate, create and commercialise their inventions.

The students will work on technological solutions in order to help improve the lives of those with medical conditions.

Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Sheffield, said: “I am delighted that the University of Sheffield is able to use its strength in engineering and enterprise education in such positive manner to work internationally with other similar-minded universities. Innovation and entrepreneurial skills are truly critical to the economies of the UK, China and the US.”

Professor Zhang Yibin, chancellor of Nanjing University, added: “This three way exchange builds on the long-term relationship Nanjing University has with Sheffield and the ongoing program with Ohio State, so it integrates current bilateral partnerships into a new stage.

“In China, Nanjing University is one of the four national demonstration bases for innovation and entrepreneurship of higher education. I believe it very necessary to have more international partners in training global leaders with innovation and entrepreneurial abilities.”

The University of Sheffield’s research partners and clients include: Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Source: Karishma Patel, Insider Media, 29th September 2016

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QES Breakfast – Brexit: Business as Usual?

October 7 @ 8:00 am10:00 am

Hear the results of the Q3 Sheffield City Region Quarterly Economic Survey – the first business survey since the EU Referendum.

Find out how businesses in the Sheffield City Region have been impacted since the vote to leave the EU – for better or worse.

Business leaders from across the Sheffield City Region will meet to hear the results of the first Quarterly Economic Survey since the EU Referendum vote and debate how they are managing the uncertainty around the general economy.

The results will also show when Sheffield City Region respondents think when Article 50 should be triggered to leave the EU and what they think are the most pressing issues the Government needs to clarify and work on.

There will be plenty of networking opportunities over breakfast with other regional businesses.


Registration & breakfast

– Welcome – Dan Fell, CEO, Doncaster Chamber
– Introduction to the QES and the current economy – Greg Wright, Deputy Business Editor, Yorkshire Post
– A word from the sponsor – Darren Marshall, RBS South Yorkshire & North Derbyshire

Sheffield City Region Quarterly Economic Survey results – Prof. Andrew Simpson, Associate Dean External Business Advancement, Sheffield University Management School

Keynote speech – The longer term challenges and opportunities that the Sheffield City Region faces and how Brexit will impact. Paul Swinney, Principal Economist, Centre for Cities

Panel discussion with Q&A
Richard Walsh, Managing Director, Pennine Stone
Lee Bartlett, Senior Manager, Fragomen Worldwide
Gareth Owen, Group Solicitor, QFM Group
Nigel Brewster, Vice Chair, Local Enterprise Partnership
Renate Halton, Owner, Halton International

– Free Flights Prize Draw courtesy of Doncaster Sheffield Airport
– Networking


Businesses need to be clear about what they want from Brexit and the role of the Chambers and local government is more important than ever to communicate this. The survey results and event discussions will be used by the Sheffield City Region’s four regional Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnership to offer the right business support and lobby Whitehall for the right frameworks to be agreed internationally to meet the needs of regional businesses.

Have your voice heard.

To register please click here

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Sheffield Tech Firm targets Chinese Market

Sheffield-based Magnomatics is set to contribute its technologies to the UK arm of Chinese car manufacturing giant Changan as part of a new collaboration agreement between the two.

Changan UK was established by Changan Automobile in June 2010 and is dedicated to powertrain design and development for its parent company’s next generation vehicles.

A powertrain comprises the components which conduct the vehicle’s power from the original source of energy to the surface of the road.

Magnomatics’ collaboration agreement with Changan UK and consortium partners Romax Technology, CMCL Innovations and University of Sheffield is to develop and evaluate the Sheffield company’s Magsplit hybrid transmission for use in future Changan Vehicles.

The £2.85m project, codenamed IMPACT, has been co-funded by Innovate UK and was one of the winning bids following a competition launched last September encouraging companies to propose ideas to cut vehicle emissions.

David Latimer, chief executive of Magnomatics, said the partnership with Changan “offers Magnomatics a route into the Chinese automotive market where we expect to see strong growth of car sales”.

Dr. Xiaoyu Zhang, general manager of Changan UK, added: “We are pleased that with the involvement of Innovate UK, Changan is able to evaluate this promising UK technology against other world class proposals for hybrid transmissions.

“Changan UK’s success in designing and developing our future powertrain products means we are well placed to do so and are further pleased that this project promotes closer collaborative ties between the UK and China.”

Magnomatics was formed in 2006 as a spin-out company from a research group at the University of Sheffield.

Source: Sam Bulcock, Insider Media, 22nd August 2016

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Excellence in International Trade Award

Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber Awards

The Awards are open to organisations with an ‘S’ postcode (located within South Yorkshire) and all members of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce regardless of location.

The category I would like to draw your attention to is the Excellence in International Trade award.

This award will recognise a company which can show smart use of research which has enabled it to meet the challenges of trading overseas, particularly in major markets. This award is for companies which have excelled in the field of export, import and have built relationships with suppliers or customers overseas.

The judges will be looking for evidence of the following:

  • Evidence of international trade and how it impacts on the overall performance of the business.
  • Understanding of different cultures and practices in foreign markets and tailoring products or processes to meet the needs over overseas clients.
  • Ongoing commitment and versatility in exploiting new markets, including use of external advice and support.

If you would like to consider entering above award, please visit the main awards website at

 Entries close on Friday, 2nd September and the shortlist will be revealed on Monday, 19th September 2016.

Entry is free, easy, and not time consuming.

The ceremony, taking place at Magna Science Adventure Centre on Friday 14th October, recognises the achievements of businesses and individuals in 11 award categories, as well as awarding an overall Business of the Year – awarded last year to Palmer Construction, who will this year be presenting their award to another outstanding business.


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Mechan celebrates Hong Kong Success

Rail depot equipment specialist Mechan has secured two major orders from Hong Kong.

The Sheffield manufacturer has delivered lifting jacks and bogie turntables to the nation’s rapid transit railway operator MTR and is now building a bespoke bogie drop.

Working with local agent Associated Engineers, the company has supplied two dozen 20-tonne versions of its flagship jacks to the Wong Chuk Hang depot on the South Island and four turntables to transfer bogies between maintenance roads.

Richard Carr, Mechan’s chief executive, said: “We have a longstanding, successful relationship with MTR spanning almost two decades and we are very pleased the operator continues to source new depot lifting equipment from us.

“Our jacks and turntables are now fully operational and after a long and complex planning stage, we are confident the bogie drop will follow suit before the end of the year.”

Although the majority of Mechan’s work is undertaken in the UK, exports account for more than 20 per cent of turnover and its products are used in 30 countries worldwide.

Source: David Casey, Insider Media, 18th August 2016

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