Trade Minister calls for business input into Export Strategy

Following extensive engagement with businesses across the country, Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, today issued a final call for businesses to come forward and input into the Government’s forthcoming Export Strategy.

Issuing a final call for input from businesses today, the Baroness emphasised the importance of business driving the content of the Strategy, with the Department for International Trade estimating that more than 300,000 UK companies produce products that could be exported but currently have no overseas sales. Ministers have already conducted a series of roundtables with businesses of all sizes and across a number of sectors. These have been convened in conjunction with a number of key stakeholders, including the Federation of Small Business and the British Chambers of Commerce, to understand the barriers preventing companies from exporting.

The Minister also set out that the Export Strategy will build on the recent Industrial Strategy, as well as complement future British trade policy, by helping firms to increase their capacity to export their goods and services overseas.

Businesses are being asked to reflect on the challenges they face that currently prevent them from exporting to foreign markets. They will also be asked about the specific needs of their sectors, as well as the current offer of support available to them.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, said:

“Export support is a key way that the Government can help businesses succeed and grow. The aim of the Export Strategy is to provide assistance which is effective, high quality and timely, allowing companies to achieve sustainable growth on the world stage.

“Building on the foundations laid by the Industrial Strategy and our future trade policy, I am confident that with the vital contribution of British businesses – we can help take UK exports to the next level.”

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that demand for British goods and services rose to the end of January 2018. UK exports rose by 11.5% (£64.5bn) in the month window to £625.9bn, with the overall trade deficit narrowing by £12.8bn in the process.

The Minister is today travelling to Hong Kong for the GREAT Festival of Innovation which is showcasing the best of British creativity to potential partners and investors from around the world.

From this week, British businesses of all sizes will also be able to showcase their products in front of millions of potential new customers as a new campaign launches between the Department for International Trade and some of Asia’s top e-commerce platforms and mobile shopping apps.

Over 160 British brands will have their goods promoted across three China and Hong Kong based e-tailers – ttHigo, Goxip and MyMM.

The Export Strategy is expected to report in the coming months. The Terms of Reference are included in today’s announcement.

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BExA Council member awarded MBE

BExA is delighted to announce that Debby Bass of Credit Agricole CA-CIB has been awarded an MBE for services to exporting in the Queen’s New Years Honours.

Co-Chairman Marcus Dolman commented “This is a well deserved award. Debby has been a major contributor to BExA for many years as the Chair of our Banking Committee and we are extremely pleased that her hard work and dedication to promoting UK exports has been formally recognised.”


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BExA in the Press – TXF article ‘UK Exporting PLC’

Marcus Dolman,  Co-Chairman of BExA, speaks to TXF about the issues behind the Association’s 8th Annual ECA Benchmarking Report ‘Exporting is not the new black’.  Whilst UK Export Finance received a score of 9/10, the report is also insistent that, to fully promote UK exports, a pan-governmental approach must be taken.  To read the full interview, please click here.



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BExA response to DIT policy paper – Preparing for our future UK trade policy

To download a copy of the response, please click here.


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UK Government ramps up support for SME trade

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has announced that small businesses can now access government-backed export finance directly from their banks, boosting UK trade.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, will on Monday 16 October launch a new partnership with 5 major high street banks allowing smaller businesses to access millions of pounds in government-backed trade finance directly from their bank in seconds.

UKEF, as part of the Department for International Trade, provides financial support to help UK companies sell to international customers. This new partnership with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS/NatWest and Santander, announced by Liam Fox in July, comes as the Board of Trade met for the first time last week (12 October).

For the first time companies which supply exporters will also now be able to access UKEF-backed finance, helping them become part of major export contracts and spreading the benefits of trade to SMEs across the UK.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, said:

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and giving them the support they need to seize international trading opportunities is a priority for the Department for International Trade as an international economic department. That’s why we’re partnering with the five major high street banks to make government-backed finance from UK Export Finance readily available, in a matter of seconds, opening up new global contracts to businesses across the UK.”

UKEF provides guarantees to banks to help businesses access bank finance, even where they’ve reached their credit limit or where the deal is considered too risky for the banks to take on alone – opening up emerging global markets to UK suppliers.

With this new partnership for finance up to £2 million, SMEs will be able to access UKEF support directly from their bank quickly and efficiently, without the need to apply separately. Provided a transaction meets UKEF’s criteria, the bank will just notify UKEF through a new secure digital platform. This will mean that, where previously it could take weeks in addition to the banks’ own turnaround times to access this support, it will now take a matter of seconds where the transaction is eligible.

As a result, the UK’s SMEs can quickly and easily access the funds they need to increase their exports, grow their revenue and sell British products around the world just by speaking to their bank manager.

At the same time, companies that aren’t yet selling overseas but are supplying products directly to those who are will also now qualify for UKEF support. Supplying to an exporter is a great way for smaller companies to get products into new markets, and government-backed finance can help secure contracts with big UK exporters to benefit from worldwide demand for UK goods and services.

Businesses interested can find out more by speaking to their bank.

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GTR-BExA Young Exporter of the Year Award 2017

Congratulations to Alastair White, Deputy Chairman of Biwater International Ltd, on being named GTR-BExA Young Exporter of the Year 2017.  BExA Co-Chairmen, Geoffrey de Mowbray and Marcus Dolman, presented Alastair with his award at the BExA Annual Lunch held at Mansion House on 10th October. Alastair was commended for his leading role in Biwater’s international growth and development over the past decade, and notably for his part in securing the $1.2 billion Erbil and Sulaimani Water and Wastewater project.

In 2016, Alastair made history, sitting alongside UK Export Finance, to sign a landmark loan with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for the Development Works Phase of Erbil and Sulaimani Water and Wastewater Project. The loan was the first use by KRG of the ‘Law To Raise Funds Through Borrowing by The Kurdistan Region, number (7) of 2015’.

Runner-up of the Young Exporter Award this year was Jack Holmes, commended by judges for the passion and enthusiasm he demonstrated in his business development role at Winch Energy Ltd, a company providing renewable energy solutions and Wi-Fi services for off-grid rural populations in Africa.

L-R - Alastair White (Biwater), Geoff de Mowbray and Marcus Dolman (BExA Co-Chairmen) and Jack Holmes (Winch Energy)

(L-R ) Alastair White (Biwater), Geoff de Mowbray and Marcus Dolman (BExA Co-Chairmen) and Jack Holmes (Winch Energy)

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BExA launches 8th Annual Benchmarking of UK Export Finance

BExA launches today its 8th Annual Benchmarking of UK Export Finance entitled “Export is not the new black”.

View press release.
Download the full paper.


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BExA welcomes launch of UKEF’s plan to scale up support as 2016/17 results show £3 billion in finance for exports

UK Export Finance has published its 2016/17 results, showing a 60% increase in finance provided for exports, and its Business Plan for 2017-20, setting out plans for an increase in support.

Geoffrey de Mowbray, Chairman of the British Exporters’ Association, welcomed the new Business Plan for 2017-20, saying:  “The British Exporters Association (BExA) has worked with UKEF in recent years to improve its product range, as evidenced by their impressive 9 out of 10 score from our annual benchmarking report. UK Export Finance is now, rightly, considered one of the world’s leading export credit agencies and its support has helped hundreds of companies succeed abroad. We at BExA welcome this ambitious plan and look forward to continued partnership as UKEF works to realise it for the benefit of the UK’s exporting community, particularly SMEs.”

For more details please click here.


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BExA member wins World ECR Export Controls Consultant of the Year Award

Congratulation to long-standing and active BExA member, Strong & Herd LLP, who have received the prestigious accolade of being voted the Export Controls Consultant of the Year in the 2017 World ECR Awards.

Previous winners of this award include the Center for Information on Security Trade Controls (CISTEC) a Tokyo based organisation and SECURUS Strategic Trade Solutions that concentrated on export compliance within the Middle East.  The runner up for the 2017 Award was BPE Global a women-owned, women-operated San Francisco, California-based global trade consultancy,

 “It was enough to be nominated by our clients for this award,” said Sandra Strong the Managing Partner who originally set up the business in 1995 with Brian Herd, “and really exciting when we learnt we had made it on to the World ECR shortlist so to win is just amazing.  I’m really proud of all the team at Strong & Herd who work very hard to ensure that we put our clients first with a friendly, reliable service they can trust.”

When Strong & Herd LLP started 22 years ago they were determined to work in partnership with their clients – and focus on their goals above all else. “Simply put, our measure of success is maximising our clients’ commercial outcomes. Compliance is often seen as an administrative chore but it is a vital link in the international trade world and needs to be given due time and attention but we have to ensure that it is treated sensibly so that it doesn’t become a crippling burden on businesses. It’s my steadfast belief that we won this award because we do things differently, offering on-demand, flexible and focused services.”

This approach clearly allows them to walk with their heads held high among the giants of this world.  You just need to look at the other businesses among the World ECR 2017 winners and runners up – Clifford Chance, Akin Gump, HFW (Holman Fenwick Willan as was), Baker McKenzie, Clyde & Co, and in-company compliance teams at Celestica and Meggitt Europe, as well as individuals such as Kevin Wolf who worked tirelessly with the US BIS to advance the US Export Control Reform  – to appreciate how impressive and inspiring it is to see a small UK training and consultancy business, located near Manchester Airport, punching above its weight globally and providing positive benefits for companies in the UK, Europe and beyond.

So what does this mean to Strong & Herd? The final word goes to Sandra: “It’s a tremendous boost for the whole team to be acknowledged by your peers in this way but we’ll just carry on as normal.  We have been able to champion companies big and small and produce some incredible outcomes for our clients this year and we look forward to doing so for many years to come. So, to our clients (old and new) thank you for letting us help you!”


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New service launched by Trade Minister to help UK construction companies secure billions in new contracts abroad.

Trade Minister Greg Hands yesterday launched Infrastructure Exports: UK, a collaboration between Government and Industry to win exports from large overseas infrastructure projects. BExA Co Chairman, Marcus Dolman, attended the event and commented “We welcome this new initiative, it has the potential to provide all sizes of UK business with exciting new opportunities to increase exports. With UKEF financing support available for these projects it gives the large exporter the opportunity to lead a UK supply chain to maximise the amount of funding available, whilst for the SMEs it provides an opportunity to be a part of a larger UK supply chain, facilitating increased exports at reduced risk.”

Whilst BExA is supportive of this new initiative we would expect there to be a major part for the Department for International Development to play in identifying and supporting infrastructure initiatives in developing nations. We look forward to their increased involvement as the initiative develops.

Further information about the initiative can be found at


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