‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’: New strategy to boost exports to £1tn launched

The Government has today launched a new ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ plan to help businesses across the UK double exports and sell their products around the globe.

The 12-point export strategy – published today by the Department for International Trade – will give businesses the tools they need to become a nation of exporters and reap the benefits of our free trade deals.

It includes an Export Support Service that offers a one-stop shop for exporting advice, and the launch of a new UK Tradeshow Programme better-tailored to help businesses, particularly those outside London and the South East, to attend and promote their products around the world.

DIT will also be expanding its Export Academy – launched in October – to roll it out across all of the UK including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The academy will invite owners and managers of SMEs to access masterclasses, roundtables and networking events that help them overcome common challenges first-time exporters face.

The UK exported £600bn in goods and services last year, but only around one in ten GB businesses currently export – with the number of goods exporters falling behind continental competitors like Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is calling on businesses to ‘Race to a Trillion’ by seizing huge untapped opportunities on offer in the world’s fast-growing markets.

She said: “This is a defining moment in our national trading story. As we agree ambitious new trade deals around the world, it is more vital than ever that businesses across the UK take advantage of these opportunities and unleash their full exporting potential. Our export strategy will help more businesses start exporting and help those who already export to sell more products to more countries. Reaching £1tn worth of exports by the end of this decade means more jobs, more opportunities and higher wages helping the UK to level up and build back better.”

Industry reaction

CBI President, Lord Karan Bilimoria said: “The UK economy is at an inflection point. While current challenges in global trade persist and business continue to adjust to the UK’s new relationship with the EU, firms need to have an eye to future opportunities. The government has stepped up to provide greater practical support for exporters, and we now need to work together to get more British businesses thinking global for growth. The new Trade in Services Council (TISC) – called for and coordinated by the CBI – reflects the sector’s importance to the UK economy. It is crucial we better understand and articulate the value of this vital sector as we seek to level up, build globally competitive regions, and develop the goods and services which will drive decarbonisation.”

British Chambers of Commerce Director-General, Shevaun Haviland said: “More than 60% of Chamber members export overseas compared to just 10% of all businesses UK-wide. To turn the UK into the global economic powerhouse it deserves to be that has to change, and the launch of the DIT’s export strategy is a really positive step toward making that happen. We are keen to work with Government to lift export-led growth in sustainable goods, services and technologies for companies the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. We are uniquely placed to help with our unrivalled expertise in trade facilitation, the advice, training and brokerage services of Chamber Customs and the extensive market access provided by our 76 international chambers. Once you open the door to international trade the possibilities for expansion are endless.”

Federation of Small Businesses National Chair, Mike Cherry said: “As the voice of the UK’s small business community, FSB has been pleased to help develop today’s Export Strategy. For too long small firms have been faced with difficulty getting onto the exporting ladder, so we’re pleased to see many of these fundamental issues tackled head-on in this export plan. In our recent export report, we proposed simplifying how small firms can export, improving access to tradeshows support service and information on FTAs, as well as boosting trade skills. These will go a long way to seeing the numbers of exporters rise. Increasing small business exports will drive prosperity and growth, protecting the economic recovery from COVID-19.”