More support needed for small UK exporters
A new report has highlighted the need for urgent support to help small UK exporters reap the benefits of new trade deals.
Published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Ready to Launch report is calling on the Department for International Trade (DIT) to do more to supercharge the economic recovery by targeting support at small and micro businesses looking to sell their products and services abroad.
Since the UK’s exit from the EU, many of the country’s smallest exporters have faced new rules and regulations that have limited their ability to trade freely.
That coupled with ongoing supply chain disruption and labour shortages have made trading conditions even more difficult.
The FSB proposes three main ways for the DIT to help small businesses export and take the handbrake off the recovery from COVID-19.
Firstly, the report says the DIT should reform and replace the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) with a new initiative modelled on the Canadian CanExport programme, providing more funding for trade activity.
Secondly, current exporting support provisions, including the advice of international trade advisors, should be targeted at the smallest businesses who lack the resources of medium and large firms.
Finally, more must be done to promote the benefits of free trade agreements (FTAs) and address the fact that 80% of small firms are in the dark about how they can use trade deals to their benefit.
Around 25% of small exporters have either temporarily or entirely stopped exporting to the EU since the end of the Brexit transition period, making the need for more promotion of new FTAs all the more pressing.
FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said: “Small exporters have had a difficult time due to the pandemic, ongoing supply chain issues, as well as adapting to the complications associated with the end of the transition period.
“This has left many facing rising costs, unsure of the future of their small firms and debating the best way to grow and nurture their businesses.
“Our report has highlighted some key areas which we hope DIT can act upon to positively help small firms who are either looking to begin their exporting journey, or to help current exporters to thrive.”
- The FSB has published its Ready to Launch report to highlight how better support for the smallest exporters could supercharge the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19: https://www.fsb.org.uk/resource-report/ready-to-launch.html
- The report found that fewer than a fifth of small exporters have made use of the preferential terms available to them in FTAs
- If you need more help exporting your products and services, head over to the UMi platform: https://www.weareumi.co.uk/webapp/