British government restructured for widespread business export performance focus

The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) initiative has been restructured in a huge campaign that will see the entire British government tasked with improving the export performance of businesses, regardless of the department.

Indeed, the UKTI will be at the heart of the new agenda to oversee and shape the direction on behalf of the Cross-Government Exports Implementation Taskforce, which is led by business secretary Sajid Javid.

The collaborative campaign is in attempt to transform the UKTI and make it easier and more compelling for businesses to take wares overseas.

“To improve the UK’s export performance we need to get the whole of government mobilised and working towards the same goal,” Javid said.

“By putting a refocused UKTI at the centre of a co-ordinated cross-government approach relevant departments will share expertise to get UK businesses exporting.”

The UKTI will look to increase the value of exports by using resources for markets where the UK is, or can be, a strong competitor.

Elsewhere, both private and public sector parties will contribute to the programme for a variety of experience that will help British firms grow internationally. This will see sector experts appointed to government departments in early 2016, blending business knowledge with policy.

The UKTI HQ will be the strategic hub amid the restructure, measuring performance based on volume and value of exports delivered, while there will be one single digital service launched to provide businesses all of the export information and support needed.

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Trade minister Lord Maude, said: “We want to make the UK the easiest country in the world to do trade with by making it easier, faster and simpler for more UK businesses to start exporting, generating a more vibrant export support marketplace, and giving more financial support to exporters.

“We will co-ordinate the energies of the whole of government on boosting exports, sharing responsibility across departments, harnessing their deep sector knowledge, focusing on priority targets, and monitoring progress closely. UKTI will be at the heart of this work, as well as retaining its remit to attract and support investment to the UK, but we are bringing together all of government to play a role.”

The digital services created by UKTI will be tested in the coming months to assess how truly useful they are for businesses, before leaving them in the hands of private partners so that the government will concentrate on “fostering an invigorated private sector export support marketplace”.

Additionally, the UKTI will increase the number of trade campaigns and fairs, as well as GREAT events and marketing projects. The ultimate goal is to bring in £1.5tn of direct investment from overseas.

Some 24 trade envoys in total have been appointed by prime minister David Cameron, covering 50 high-growth and emerging markets, such as Angola, Burma, Canada, Ghana, Iran, Morocco, Nigeria and Indonesia, between them.

Providing her thoughts to Real Business, Emma Jones, founder of small business support group Enterprise Nation, said: “Small British businesses are poised to export, often from their own kitchen table and at an early stage. Leading the way for this community and offering practical, strategic help is one of Enterprise Nation’s top priorities this year.

“As a consequence we’ll be offering five global trade missions for emerging firms looking to extend their reach in 2016. The first leaves for Dublin in March and will focus on food, fashion and homewares.”

Image: Shutterstock

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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