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How do we get Cumbria exporting?

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Export graphic

Exporting is good for your business and good for your employees.

That’s not opinion, it’s fact. Statistics show that exporting businesses export have better productivity, better paid jobs and operate for longer.

The good news is that UK exports are growing.

Exports by value jumped 4.4% to a record £621bn last year, boosted in part by the weakness of sterling since the EU referendum.

Against this backdrop, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox launched the Government’s Export Strategy on Tuesday with a promise to turn the UK into a “21st century exporting superpower”.

You can download the Export Strategy here

An enthusiastic advocate of Brexit, he was keen to paint a picture of a confident outward-looking UK, seizing trading opportunities across the world.

He said: “Around 90% of global economic growth in the next 10 to 15 years is expected to be generated outside the European Union.

“China is expected to have 220 cities with a population of more than a million by 2030. The whole of Europe has just 35. And PWC has predicted that there will be 1.1bn middle-class Africans by 2060.”

He added: “I see examples of the demand for British goods and services on every overseas visit I make. UK products enjoy and unparalleled global reputation for quality and the international demand for anything ‘Made in Britain’, from luxury cars to business services, is only growing.

“Take China. According to research by Barclays, more than 60% of people in China would actually pay more for a product just because they knew it was made in Britain. That’s some reputation.”

To coincide with the strategy launch, DIT has revamped its website for exporters

The UK is already the world’s sixth largest exporter and exports represent around 30% of our GDP.

That’s substantially better than the US (12% of GDP) and Japan (16%), on a par with France, Canada and Italy (all 31%) but some way behind Germany (47%).

The Export Strategy sets out to boost our exports as a percentage of GDP to 35%, although it doesn’t set a target date to achieve this.

It does, however, outline four ways the Government can “make a difference”:

  1. By encouraging and inspiring businesses that can export but have not started or are just beginning;
  2. Helping businesses access the right information, advice and practical assistance;
  3. Connecting UK businesses to overseas buyers, markets and each other;
  4. Ensure no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s a sensible enough strategy but when you drill down into the detail there is little in it that’s genuinely new.

“For example, the Strategy talks about ‘creating a network of Export Champions’. We’ve had these for years, successful exporters who act as an example and inspiration for others.

“Playdale in Cumbria is an Export Champion and they feature on page 68 of the Strategy as a case study.

“One thing that is new, buried towards the back of the document, is a proposal for the Department for International Trade to start charging businesses for some export services that currently are free. That would be a retrograde step.

Click here to listen to Rob discussing the Strategy on BBC Radio Cumbria

“If the Government is serious about helping exporters, it could start by fixing the fundamentals at home – improving transport and digital infrastructure and relieving upfront costs to make our businesses more competitive.

“That said, Liam Fox is right to highlight the export opportunities for UK businesses right across the globe.

“Whether we need Brexit to take advantage of them is a moot point but Cumbria Chamber has seen an increase in enquiries from potential exporters since the EU referendum.

“And while, in the past, first-time exporters would probably have looked at Europe first they are now as likely to consider the US or China, or even emerging economies such as India.

“There is already a great package of support available to businesses whether they’re new exporters or existing exporters looking to target new markets.

“In the last five years, the Chamber’s Cumbria Business Growth Hub has helped 550 Cumbrian exporters including 200 businesses that hadn’t exported before.

“The Chamber itself offers an export documentation service. Last year we helped Cumbrian businesses export £57m worth of goods all across the globe including to Turkey, Russia, China and South America.

“And we can help Cumbrian businesses make contact with businesses in their target markets through the international Chamber of Commerce network.

“I’d urge any potential exporter to get in touch and we will talk through the support available. Exporting is a great way to grow your business.”

The Cumbria Business Growth Hub website is a great resource for exporters.

There is information on workshops, trade missions and grants – including grants to attend trade shows – a video guide to exporting and details of specific initiatives such as:

  • First Steps to Export, which offers free advice, workshops and masterclasses;Export pallet
  • Trade finance and insurance solutions including bank guarantees, direct lending from UKEF and bond insurance policies;
  • The e-Exporting Programme, which helps businesses to export through e-commerce platforms;
  • The Overseas Market Introduction Service, which plugs into a network of trade experts at UK Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions;
  • An Export Communication Review, where a consultant reviews your communications to either English speaking or non-English speaking markets and recommends improvements;
  • The Enterprise Europe Network, the world’s largest support network for SME exporters with access to 3,000 local experts in 600 locations in 60 countries and a database of thousands of potential business partners.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s Export Documentation Service simplifies and streamlines the export process by ensuring that paperwork is completed correctly first time so avoiding delays and saving you money.

We can process EC Certificates of Origin, EUR1 Movement Certificates, ATR Certificates and Arab-British Documents, while our e-Cert Express Service saves invaluable time by processing documents electronically.

To find out more, call Cumbria Business Growth Hub on 0844 257 84 50.

ERDFThe funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Allerdale Borough Council (Sellafield Ltd’s Allerdale SIIF, distributed by Allerdale Borough Council), Barrow Borough Council (FEDF Coastal Communities Fund Supply Chain Initiative, the Coastal Communities Fund is funded by the Government with income from the Crown Estates marine assets; it is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of UK Government), Carlisle City Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria LEP.  The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, click here.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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