Who can help me export?
A wide range of support services exist to help UK exporters and would-be exporters to tackle virtually all of the issues and challenges they are likely to face, helping them become established in International markets.
The following are just some of the many organisations that can help you get started on your exporting journey.
- UK Trade & Investment
- UK Export Finance
- Export Britain
- British Chambers of Commerce
- The Institute of Export
- Export Control Organisation
- UK Intellectual Property Office
- International Intellectual Property Helpdesks
- HM Revenue & Customs
- Enterprise Europe Network
- Bilateral Business Councils
- Trade Associations
- British International Freight Association
- Your bank
- Your accountant
- Your lawyer
- A Notary Public
- Other useful resources
UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in global markets and assists overseas firms in bringing their high-quality investment to the UK.
UKTI has a global network of 2,400 staff. Its International Trade Advisers (ITAs) around the UK have years of business experience to draw on when advising companies. In 96 markets based in British Embassies and other Diplomatic offices around the world, UKTI staff can offer local, in-market knowledge and expertise.
UKTI has helped many thousands of businesses achieve international success by providing tailored services with specialist support covering a wide range of industries. Its clients consistently cite the importance of UKTI support in helping them to overcome barriers to new overseas business and improve their business performance.
UKTI services have helped its customers to:
- understand how to do business overseas
- identify opportunities and open doors
- reach customers/business partners not otherwise accessible
- raise their profile and credibility overseas
- overcome barriers to entry or expansion
- improve overseas marketing strategy
- gain access to information not otherwise available
- understand the competition
- access powerful research to inform management decisions
- have the confidence to explore or expand in overseas markets.
For more information visit: www.ukti.gov.uk
UK Export Finance
UK Export Finance is the operating name of the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), the UK’s export credit agency.
UK Export Finance does not lend directly, but supports UK exports by issuing insurance contracts to UK exporters and by issuing guarantees to banks which make loans to overseas borrowers, which are used to purchase supplies from UK exporters. UK Export Finance’s services help facilitate export contracts by providing protection against the risks of the exports not being paid for.
In 2010-11, UK Export Finance (then known as ECGD) supported £2.9 billion of UK exports (up from £2.2 billion the previous year). In late 2011 it announced an extension to its credit insurance policy to cover all sectors and sizes of company, as well as the launch of three new short-term products.
For more information visit: www.ecgd.gov.uk
Export Britain, the new online resource from the British Chambers of Commerce, showcases opportunities in key international markets, and links UK exporters to support available from British Chambers and Business Groups both in the UK and around the world.
Export Britain helps businesses to make new connections overseas by drawing on the power of the global network of British Chambers and Business Groups. The site also helps growing and prospective exporters navigate through the export journey by signposting the support available every step of the way. Additionally, Export Britain provides information on export training and documentation, events and trade missions, and inspiring case studies featuring successful UK exporters. Visit: www.exportbritain.org.uk
British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
The BCC, and its network of affiliated Chambers, support and advise businesses in all areas of international trade. With a worldwide network of bilateral and international chambers of commerce, the BCC can provide UK exporters with numerous services including: export documentation, market research, training, translation services and letters of credit. For more information visit the BCC’s website at: www.britishchambers.org.uk
The Institute of Export (IOE)
The Institute’s mission is to enhance the export performance of the UK by setting and raising professional standards in international trade management and export practice. They achieve this by the provision of education and training programmes. The IOE offers recognised formal qualifications in international trade. It also runs a series of short training courses covering every aspect of international trade management, sales and marketing, logistics and documentary requirements, and international trade finance. For more information visit the IOE website at: www.export.org.uk
Export Control Organisation (ECO)
Any item exported from the UK that is subject to export control needs a licence. The ECO is responsible for assessing and issuing (or refusing) export licences for a wide range of controlled, so-called ‘strategic’ goods. This includes military and dual-use items. For more information visit www.bis.gov.uk/exportcontrol
The ECO’s Helpline is on hand for general queries about strategic export licensing.
- Tel:020 7215 4594
- Fax:020 7215 2635
- Email: email@example.com
Intellectual Property Office
Intellectual property rights can allow you to own things you create, in a similar way to owning physical property. You can control the use of your IP, and use it to gain reward. IP rights only give protection in the country where they are registered, so if you are thinking of trading internationally, then you should consider registering your IP rights abroad. The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) can provide guidance: www.intellectual-property.gov.uk
International Intellectual Property Helpdesks
The following helpdesks are funded by the EU and offer services in English, including advice, materials and training:
HM Revenue & Customs
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides assistance on a number of matters relating to the importing and exporting of goods. Information and guides are available covering topics such as the classification of goods, the European Union, Relief Procedures on Duty and VAT, Tariffs and Duties, Intrastate and the requirement to submit Supplementary Declarations, together with basic guides on export licences, export taxes, import licences, rates of exchange, etc. For more information visit: www.hmrc.gov.uk
Enterprise Europe Network
Enterprise Europe Network is your first port of call to find out about trading with and in European markets. Made of 600 partner organisations in more than 40 countries, and supported by the European Commission, the network’s aim is to promote competitiveness and innovation at local level in Europe and beyond. Within the UK and Ireland, 11 consortia of 31 business development organisations can help you take your business to Europe by:
- Providing free business advice and support
- Organising networking events
- Keeping you up-to-date with bulletins and briefings
- Sharing our innovation expertise
- helping you work out how to protect and make the most of your company’s ideas and technologies
- Guidance on accessing European funding
- Feeding back your business issues to the policy-makers
- Promoting your innovation across Europe
- Helping you find business/research partners, including overseas manufacturers
- Alerting you to the latest partnering opportunities
- Providing access to a database of European businesses
- Providing access to a database of European technology profiles
For more information and contact points in your region, visit www.enterprise-europe.net
Bilateral Business Councils
Bilateral Business Councils promote trade between countries. They are particularly useful at the planning & research stage of exporting, as they can provide detailed information on a specific market, including sector performance and consumer behaviour.
Whatever sector you are in, you will find support and information relating to your business from trade associations. Many offer an international scope and are therefore a great resource for anyone considering exporting. You can find your sector’s trade association using an internet search engine or online directory.
The Gov.UK website provides the information, advice and support needed to start, maintain and grow a business (www.gov.uk/browse/business). It provides information and advice to help customers make the most of their opportunities. For SMEs thinking about exporting goods to countries outside the EU or send them to another EU country visit www.gov.uk/starting-to-export. A Business Link Helpline is also available to provide help and advice with business related queries for those who are unable to access/use the internet or unable to find the information they need on the web (Tel: 0845 600 9006 – 9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday).
One of the other things you\’ll need to think about is how to move your goods overseas. Much will depend on the nature of your goods and their destination and you will need to evaluate the best combination of time and cost with the characteristics of your product. There are various methods of shipping goods: by air, road, sea, or rail. Some companies offer multi-modal solutions; this means that they offer more than one service. For more information about freight forwarding please contact the British International Freight Associationat www.bifa.org
Your bank can provide a range of help on topics such as managing foreign transactions, trading overseas in sterling, owning assets abroad, exchange rates and managing foreign exchange risks. For more detailed financial advice and guidance on issues that affect you, you should talk to the international section of your bank.
Your accountant can provide you with a range of advice, from starting a business, organising your financial affairs, financial management and taxation. You should also be aware that the Institute for Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has just launched a new scheme: small businesses across the UK are being offered free expert advice from ICAEW Chartered Accountants as part of an initiative called the Business Advice Service(BAS). It aims to help small companies and start-ups with business and financial advice to help economic growth. Small businesses can find details of ICAEW chartered accountants in their local area at www.businessadviceservice.com
Your lawyer will also be able to help you. Similar to the ICAEW’s BAS, the Law Society has many members which offer a service for SMEs. ‘Lawyers For Your Business’ is a network of 1,000 solicitor firms in England and Wales offering specialist advice and a free half-hour initial consultation to small and medium-sized businesses. Advice can be sought on a range of legal issues – both domestic and international.
In 2012 the Law Society will also be working with its solicitor members to produce practical ‘Doing international business’ guides aimed at SME firms new to exporting their products and services internationally.
The guides will look at some of the fundamental legal issues which SMEs need to consider when working internationally. Topics being covered will include:
- international employment issues
- international contracts
- business structures
- debt recovery
- dispute resolution
These guides will be available as publications, but also as webinars and will be promoted widely to small businesses. For more information visit the Law Society’s website at www.lawsociety.org.uk
A Notary Public
A Notary is an internationally recognised lawyer who can offer independent certification of a variety of international trade documentation. For more information or to find a Notary you can visit the Notaries Society website at: www.thenotariessociety.org.uk
Other useful resources
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Intellect is the voice of the UK’s technology industry.
Intellect believes that a vibrant and successful technology sector is vital to the long term economic well-being of the country. Its business services help companies of all sizes compete and innovate in a dynamic global market. It represents the views of industry to government and regulators and also provides opportunities for government and regulators to interact with industry on key policy and market issues. Its work focuses on three themes:
• to make the UK good for tech
• to make tech good for UK PLC
• to make tech good for UK people
Intellect’s comprehensive portfolio of services deliver real business value to member companies and the people who work in them. It provides insight into markets, an authoritative and trusted voice to government, shares insights and encourages best practice. Members enjoy unique networking opportunities helping them to forge business relationships and gain an understanding of policy issues. Intellect promotes the development of a good skills base in the UK as a key element of ensuring a thriving technology sector which creates employment and wealth.
To find out more visit the Intellect website, www.intellectuk.org