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As a UKTI Trade Challenge Partner, the BPA attended a workshop in April to find out more about how the nursery sector can benefit from a new government initiative to encourage British companies to export.
A keynote speech by Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade & Investment, left no doubt about how important exporting is for the future of the British economy and it is hardly surprising that this is a major focus for the government and an area of significant investment in the foreseeable future.
Lord Green explained that for the last four of five years in particular, UK trade has been weak with economic challenges both nationally and globally. Whilst we are concentrating on reducing our national debt, domestic consumers are spending less and it is time to explore further afield if the UK is to create more jobs and new opportunities. The way forward for British business to achieve sustainable growth is to export to new and wider reaching markets.
After the Second World War, Japan recovered from devastation to become the world’s third largest economy. Similar urbanisation is now being experienced in many parts of Asia and particularly in China and India. Surprisingly, the sixth out of ten fastest growing economies expected in the next five years is Africa. As more and more people in these countries are leaving rural backgrounds and moving to urban settings, the desire for westernisation is growing, as is demand for westernised products and lifestyles. The Middle East and Latin America are also getting wealthier and these emerging countries are experiencing next generation growth with high purchasing power and should be the focus for British companies looking for new markets.
Lord Green went on to explain that during his travels he continually learns of the huge respect other countries have for British products and services and many countries warmly welcome business exchange with us. He noted particular demand for British training services, technical expertise and branded goods.
Together with Lord Green and Foreign Secretary William Haig, the government has placed British exporting as a major strategic priority including the implementation of the Trade Challenge Partnership programme and increased levels of UKTI funding.
Lord Green said: “UK trade associations cover almost every British market sector and these organisations already have the contacts and the networks to get the initiative off to a successful start. Working together with the 98 Trade Challenge Partners, we can ensure that we offer full support to help British businesses become more efficient leading to sustainable growth and potentially creating more jobs for the future.”