The Giftware Associations umbrella company , The British Allied Trade Federation’s Rosina Singleton, BATF COO, attended an International Trade Reception hosted by Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, to bring together senior business representatives with the DIT leadership team.
Liam Fox’s message was positive for members as he stressed department’s view of the importance of increasing export trade to enable the country to afford necessary spending. He noted that the UK is currently the second lowest exporter as a percentage of GDP in the EU and said that more autonomy and responsibility is being given to the people with the skills and data within his department to make the necessary decisions to support businesses in improving the trade performance.
The policy of encouraging inward investment to the UK has been successful, but results in dividends leaving the country. More outward investment is needed and another policy change is to help developing countries to create markets for UK businesses in specific sectors and support sectors to add value and capacity where they are not already strong. Education exports for example are worth more than the financial services in the City of London.
His message on Brexit was also positive; unreported negotiations are taking place to establish free trade deals with countries outside the EU on a sectoral basis, and the UK will remain an attractive place to do business due to the skilled workforce, legal framework, time zone and low tax and regulation, none of which will change.
Liam Fox encouraged members to contact the department via their trade associations to make them aware of any barriers to exporting relating to their sector. He announced that, in response to comments from users, the UK finance application process has been streamlined to confirm acceptance within 6 days rather than the previous 6 weeks.