ABP hosted high level roundtable discussion on trade and exports with CBI

ABP Royal Albert Dock has hosted a high level round table discussion on issues surrounding trade and exports from the UK as part of an initiative to better inform Government on its future approach.

The event was organised by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the business representative organisation that advises Government on policy changes that can improve the UK’s international competitiveness.

The discussion by members of the CBI SME Network was chaired by CBI Head of Trade & Investment, James Ashton-Bell, along with CBI Senior International Policy Adviser Will McGarrigle.  They were joined by ABP Directors John Miu, COO, Neil Robinson, Director of Global Communications, and Sam Williams, Finance Director.

Opening the discussion, James Ashton-Bell, said: “The UK Government is looking for practical recommendations on how to increase exports, particularly from SMEs and this is timely in the light of Brexit challenges that lie ahead.”

“In our initial discussions with the DiT Minister Baroness Fairhead, she is keen to understand what Government needs to do more of in order to assist SMEs and what areas should be in focus.”

ABP COO, John Miu, said there was a distinction between export and trade and that SMEs seeking to break into new markets needed to face and overcome a series of challenges including language, business culture, differences in legislation and importantly to understand whether there is demand for the services and goods in the target market. Government can assist with this and perhaps Brexit gives Government an opportunity to strengthen the offer of Enterprize Zones.

In the discussion that followed a range of suggestions were made including:

  • SMEs to be included on high level trade missions alongside large corporates
  • Government to improve finance packages for SMEs seeking to export
  • A stronger cross-Government approach to SME exports to improve sector opportunities (such as Health, Education etc)
  • Greater clarity on Government websites regarding trade and export

Other suggestions raised at the meeting were for SMEs to try to access new markets through their supply chain, and to prioritise attending networking events to meet successful exporters and learn from them.

The conclusions from the round-table discussion will now be compiled into the CBI policy report to be presented to Government in the summer.



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