Member Article

Regional businesses urged to go global as new manifesto is launched

Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to be part of an international trade revolution after the launch of a new manifesto by a leading business group.

Just ten per cent of companies are involved in exporting so the team at the International Trade Hub at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is throwing its weight behind a national campaign that could help to grow the region’s exports.

The British Chambers of Commerce’s most recent research shows that exporters are facing a wide range of issues, from unprecedented inflationary pressures and global supply chain crises to a raft of new requirements flowing from the EU trade deal.

Its Trade Manifesto sets out a comprehensive list of steps to get more UK businesses involved in international trade – including working with its own Global Business Network – as well as setting out steps the Government needs to take to support overseas trade growth.

It is making the move after 23 per cent of firms surveyed said finding a business partner or distributor overseas would encourage them to either start exporting or export more.   A further 16 per cent of firms also said support with trade documentation would encourage them to start exporting or increase the amount of business they do overseas.

Ajay Desai, International Trade Director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said these services – and more – are available through the Chamber.

He said: “Understandably, the headlines have been dominated by Brexit and then by Covid and they have added to the perception that there are barriers to overseas trade.

“It’s vital, however, that we get more companies from Coventry and Warwickshire exporting and we can support that. There are lots of businesses in the region that are tapping into our services – such as export documentation – but we could support so many more and that would provide a massive boost for the whole economy as we emerge from a very difficult couple of years.

“Europe is still a strong market but there are many major economies around the world that want to do business the companies from our area. The USA remains strong while India continues to grow and bring new opportunities for companies in Coventry and Warwickshire to export to. There are many others too.

“The Chamber can help businesses to tap into these markets and the evidence shows that those companies that do export give themselves a much better chance to grow.

“It’s time for businesses in our region to be part of an export revolution!”

The BCC Trade Manifesto sets out a number of steps that the UK government could take to help firms trade with the EU and to make sure that any new trade agreements put the interests of business at their heart.

In Europe, these include: streamlining customs and trade processes to reduce paperwork and delays; developing more business-friendly rules on cross-border VAT; and bringing back, and boosting, the Brexit SME Support Fund to help firms adapt.

More widely they include: creating a Business and Trade Growth Office at the Dept for International Trade to help smaller businesses get involved in exporting; providing better access for UK professional services and mutual recognition of qualifications; setting rules on trade that support the future exports of environmental goods and services; securing real benefits for importers and manufacturers in the UK on tariff reductions and rules of origin; and providing manufacturers with better options on sourcing materials and components.

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: “We want to work with the UK Government and other trading bodies to build a proper coalition of support for a strong UK trade and investment strategy.

“If we want more firms to get involved in exporting then we need to see more end-to-end support to help them make the leap.

“But businesses also have the knowledge and practical know how to help the UK Government negotiate trade treaties that can open up new growth opportunities.

“We have always been champions of international trade and there is no doubt in our minds that businesses that embrace exporting to overseas markets will be better off for it, as will our economy. All it takes is a willingness to try.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Matt Joyce .

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