New statistics showed the Department for International Trade supported £41.6bn in exporting opportunities last year, creating 91,000 jobs and helping over 2,800 UK businesses to sell their products or services abroad for the first time.
SMEs which have a track record of innovation are more likely to export, more likely to export successfully, and more likely to generate growth from exporting than non-innovating firms, according to ERC research.
However, only around 11% of UK firms currently export and the government is hoping to support more exports by reconvening the Board of Trade and launching a network of trade commissioners.
In 2016‑17, UK businesses reported that DIT significantly them to achieve exports valued at an estimated £41.6bn over five years. Their new operating model aligns teams in overseas posts, who are responsible for finding and creating demand for British goods and services, with sector teams in the UK who work to build the supply of export ready businesses.
DIT works across the whole of the UK to provide support to businesses to overcome the barriers to exporting. We are developing and expanding the range of products and services we provide to encourage UK businesses to start, increase or sustain their exporting activity.
DIT’s e‑exporting programme helps UK companies sell their products and services to millions of global customers, and grow their business through online exports. They have negotiated preferential rates for 15 e‑marketplaces, reducing the costs of selling through these platforms for UK businesses.
In November 2016, they launched great.gov.uk, a new digital platform that acts as a single destination for trade and investment services. There have been over 2.4m unique visitors to the site since it launched, and over 37,900 responses to export opportunities.
In addition, over 3,204 companies have signed up to ‘Find a Buyer’ service which links UK companies to buyers overseas.
The increasing globalisation of markets and strengthening of global value chains both emphasise the importance of firms’ export competitiveness. For SMEs, however, there is a strong positive relationship between exporting and growth and between exporting and innovation activity. Indeed, SMEs which have prior innovation are more likely to export, more likely to export successfully, and more likely to generate growth from exporting than non-innovating firms.
In the past year DIT has organised 83 ministerial visits to 46 priority markets, to strengthen trading relationships, promote the UK as a destination for foreign investment and help grow demand for UK exports. International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, visited 14 markets last year, including India where he met with business leaders and technology entrepreneurs to showcase UK expertise and innovation.