SMEs: Support for Export to Global Markets

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 21st April 2022.

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Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

What steps her Department is taking to support small and medium-sized enterprises to export to global markets.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

Our export strategy’s action-led 12-point plan will support SMEs to thrive in the global market and raise the UK’s exporting culture in the long term. It includes our Export Academy, which has already received over 7,000 business registrations, and our export support service, which has dealt with over 8,000 enquiries, 1,000 of which are from businesses around my hon. Friend’s constituency in the south-east. We have the trade access programme, the international trade advisers, the export champions, and a whole range of support that we can provide, including UK Export Finance, to help SMEs to get on and export.

Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

I thank the Minister and the Department for all they are doing in championing British exports. Jubilee Clips in Gillingham in my constituency is a fantastic local family-run business that employs over 100 people and exports hose clips to over 90 countries around the world. A real issue that it is facing is the uncertainty at the channel border crossing, which is leading to delays in delivering on its contracts. These delays are having a significant impact on local businesses and their ability to export. Will the Minister clarify what steps are being taken to address this specific challenge facing businesses in Kent and Medway?

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

The export support service notes all complaints about delays and raises them with HMRC, because the DIT is not responsible for the border. Where we find that there are different interpretations of the rules on either side, we work with our bilateral partners to eradicate those issues. On Jubilee Clips, if my hon. Friend wishes to write to me or bring the company in, I would be more than happy to discuss the matter in more detail.

Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Independent, Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Will the Minister detail what impact the Department’s 12-point strategy, entitled “Made in the UK, Sold to the World”, has had on SME exports from Scotland and how any progress can be further built on?

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

I do not have the details for Scotland, so I will write to the hon. Lady. We have opened an office in Scotland to ensure that we work closely with our partners to boost exports, but I will have to write to her on the details.