International trade minister calls on UK exporters to re-energise their efforts

Whisky exports

The international trade secretary has called on UK businesses to “re-energise” their exporting efforts, saying “lethargy in the system” is holding them back.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said too few businesses were taking the plunge overseas, particularly from Scotland, as she launched the government’s first post-Brexit export strategy.

“We have one in ten businesses exporting. We certainly think that one in seven could. In Scotland it’s only one in 20 at the moment. So there is some real lethargy in the system that we want to make free”.

The government’s official target is to have exports reaching £1 trillion by 2030, up from £689 billion before the pandemic. It is the same target that David Cameron set in 2012, to be achieved by 2020.

Trevelyan urged more companies to take advantage of the free trade agreements the government has struck with the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as a new “Made in the UK, sold to the world” campaign designed to help companies champion the origin of their goods and services.

“This is a defining moment in our national trading story,” she said. “As we agree ambitious new trade deals around the world, it is more vital than ever that businesses across the UK take advantage of these opportunities and unleash their full exporting potential.”

She said the decline in trade with the EU was partly due to supply chain issues arising from the pandemic.

Among a series of new initiatives to support exporters are grants to attend trade shows, as well as seminars and workshops under a UK Export Academy. An Export Support Service is providing businesses with a single point of contact to answer questions about trading with the EU.