Insurance · 4 September 2018

Barclays opens “major” new trade centre to boost UK exports

Barclays bank
Around 1.5m small UK firms are thought to be trading internationally

The lender has launched a trade centre in the Midlands that will help over 1,000 small businesses export goods and services around the world.

Opened as part of Barclay’s commitment with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to enable 15,000 companies to begin exporting for the first time by 2020, the Birmingham-based trade centre is staffed by 30 export and trade product specialists.

As part of a new post-Brexit exporting strategy, the government recently set a new target to raise exports as a percentage of GDP from 30 to 35%.

Unveiling the trade centre, minister of state for DIT, Baroness Fairhead, said it represented a commitment to better signpost support available to British companies.

“Time and again we have seen the boost that exporting gives to UK businesses. By selling their goods and services around the world, companies can increase profits, employ more workers and create businesses which endure longer,” she said.

“That is why our new export strategy aims to increase the substance, availability and awareness of export support.

“I am therefore delighted to be opening Barclays’ new Trade Centre today, and would encourage businesses up and down the country to make the most of the team’s expertise.”

Jes Staley, Barclays Group CEO, said:“From manufacturing to agriculture, retail to digital, we are helping more UK businesses sell their goods and services to more people around the world. This trade centre is our latest initiative to make it easier for UK businesses to find their way in overseas markets, by providing the right finance, and all-important advice and guidance.”

According to Barclays, the trade centre has already started to help a number of UK businesses enter markets such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, as well as Far Eastern markets such as China, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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App store

Best of Britain: The small exporters tapping into new markets

Business Advice has been profiling the small businesses creating new revenue streams by selling to new overseas markets.

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A majority of small firms now export

New research from Royal Mail has found a 12% increase in the number of small firms exporting since 2016, with 52% of companies now selling overseas.

However, customs complexity and costs (34 per cent), market knowledge (20 per cent) and risk associated with currency conversion (19 per cent) remained the main deterrants for wannabe exporters.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Expanding your business overseas might seem like a daunting prospect. But, the reality is that ecommerce is driving global trade. If UK SMEs want to benefit as a result, they need to expand into international markets.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and has previously worked as a content editor in local government and the ecommerce industry.

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