THE UK’s Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, became the first UK government minister to speak exclusively to Made in Britain members in a live webinar on Thursday 4 February. More than 80 companies signed up for the ‘meet the Minister for Exports’ session.
Minister Stuart spoke about the importance of exports to help drive the UK’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19. He also talked about the evolution of the Department for International Trade and the support it offers to UK companies through export promotion and on overcoming trade barriers. He highlighted the value of the British brand overseas and commended the Made in Britain community for its work.
The Minister took a number of questions, including on DIT funding and International Trade Advisor coverage (Tony Grimshaw OBE of What More UK), funding for UK company participation in virtual events (Steven Greenall of Warwick Music), the Made in Britain product directory (Sophie Stanwix from Roman) and DIT services (Curtis Bligh of Excell Metal Spinning).
The Minister expressed his interest in the Made in Britain product directory and confirmed his team are looking at how the department could help to promote it. If you haven’t already, please upload your products. The more members and products we have on there, the stronger the directory. This helps our call to DIT and other partners to send buyers to the site.
The Minister was not able to respond to questions on customs and tax as these fall outside his direct remit as Minister for Exports. However, we are working with his department on getting answers to those questions that came in advance on customs and tax. Regrettably, we aren’t able to help every company get answers to individual questions but we will approach the government to invite someone who can speak to us on customs and tax, acknowledging this is a common issue amongst a number of our members. This webinar from HMRC might also be helpful: Exporting: what you need to do to keep your goods moving. Click here to register.
DIT officials, Shehzad Chaudhary and Kathryn Borg, spoke about the support and services offered by the Department for International Trade. We highlight the following three points:
- International Trade Advisors: All UK companies are eligible for advice and support from one of the circa 300 DIT International Trade Advisors around the UK. This is a free service for UK companies. Find your local ITA via your local trade office: https://www.great.gov.uk/contact/office-finder/
- Export Academy: Free DIT programme to help companies start or grow international sales: https://www.great.gov.uk/campaigns/export-academy/
- great.gov.uk: DIT is increasingly signposting to its website for access to DIT initiatives and activities. Explore the site if you haven’t already: https://www.great.gov.uk/
The session was introduced and chaired by Sir Hugo Swire. Sir Hugo is chair of the Brennan & Partners International Advisory Board. Brennan & Partners is supporting Made in Britain to develop its links with the government and other partners. The company specialises in international business development, as well as government relations. See the website for more information.
Made in Britain’s CEO, John Pearce, spoke at the beginning and end of the session, highlighting the growth and strength of Made in Britain. He also highlighted the calibre and uniqueness of each of Made in Britain’s member companies. Mr Pearce thanked all companies for their engagement and interest.
If you missed the session or would like to watch again, you can see the recording here.