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International Trade Association
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A Summary of UKTI Trade & Investment
Services to Exporters

UKTI First Class Export Advice

If you are not already working with UKTI and making the most of the wide range of services and funding opportunities that are available, you are strongly advised to get to know your local International Trade Adviser (ITA). You will be required to complete a form to register your interest in finding an International Trade Adviser at; https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-trade-investment and click on the ‘Meet with an export adviser’ option. Your ITA will be able to advise what advice and funding is available for companies in your region and which schemes might most benefit you. This is the link to an overview of UKTI services - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/first-class-export-advice-world-class-business-growth. See also the UKTI introduction to the benefits of exporting at www.gov.uk/basics-of-exporting.

All the details on the range of UKTI services available to UK exporters have been transferred to https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-trade-investment . This gives a wealth of information on government services to exporters, general information on embassy contacts (click on the Worldwide tab, then the country of interest), details of all outward missions and sponsored events, publications available and much more.  You may be required to register online for access to some areas of this site, but this is free. There are also Exporting Country guides for many overseas markets to be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/exporting-country-guidesFor all the UKTI publications available click on the Publications tab of the www.gov.uk  website and select the UK Trade & Investment option under Department. You can then search by market, topic etc.

UK Trade & Investment’s main scheme for less experienced exporters is Passport to Export, a flexible programme designed to help newer exporters which incorporates a two day workshop, mentoring by an International Trade Adviser and other services. See https://www.gov.uk/passport-to-export-service.  for further details.  A scheme for more experienced exporters is called Gateway to Global Growth –. See; https://www.gov.uk/gateway-to-global-growth for further details.

If PetQuip members have successfully made use of either Passport to Export or Gateway to Global Growth, we would like to share your case studies with the UKTI community.  Please contact  charlie@petquip.com

UKTI Business Opportunities Service

UK exporters can register for sales leads for their product areas. UKTI publishes around 400 Business Opportunities a month from their commercial offices at British Embassies and Consulates worldwide. To register for Business Opportunity Alerts, see the ‘Our export services’ section of the UKTI website and click on the link to register for business opportunities. PetQuip will try to pass on any leads that we identify for our sectors to members as they arise. Whilst the majority of business opportunities tend to be for large project-based schemes, there are occasionally leads for consumer products so we recommend that you sign up for Business Opportunity alerts.
See http://www.businessopportunities.ukti.gov.uk/home.html

OMIS Reports – ‘Overseas Market Introduction Service’ Reports from UK Trade & Investment

Usually commissioned via the local International Trade Team or through the relevant local consulate or embassy, these reports provide contact details of potential customers. Some are now provided by Chambers of Commerce located in the individual market. Costs of these vary depending on the scope and availability of information, and normally take several weeks to prepare. The current scheme is referred to as OMIS, and the reports are bespoke to your requirements. Costs normally start at £500 but will depend on the scope of the request and the amount of activities involved. More detailed and extensive reports can cost thousands of pounds. Ask your International Trade Adviser (ITA) for details. An OMIS can cover lists of potential distributors with ‘warmed-up’ contacts, market entry strategy, understanding local regulations and standards, understanding the competition or even help in organising promotional events at embassies. https://www.gov.uk/overseas-market-introduction-service has further details or ask your local ITA.

A recently introduced initiative was  Market Visit Support – designed to introduce newer exporters to markets, mainly in Europe and usually providing a small amount of funding. See https://www.gov.uk/market-visit-support.

Events, missions and webinars

UKTI offers a wide range of events in the UK and trade missions overseas. Seminars, workshops, training events and briefings etc are usually offered by UKTI regional offices and can cover exporting topics, specific markets or relate to forthcoming trade shows. Missions are organized group visits to overseas markets and can be either sector-specific or multi-sector and usually offer a programme of activities and market information. See https://www.events.ukti.gov.uk where you can search by particular type of event.

UKTI also holds webinars on a wide variety of exporting topics and export markets – search for webinars at https://www.events.ukti.gov.uk. Where the UKTI webinars have a particular interest for pet companies PetQuip will try to keep members informed, but there are webinars on a whole host of markets and subject areas that may be of interest to you. This site will ultimately provide the central one-stop link to all the various trade shows, trade missions, seminars and other events supported by UKTI. We recommend that you sign up for alerts on events, webinars and missions that may be relevant to you. 

Please note, when registering for alerts for Business Opportunities and for Events, missions and webinars you might need to search multiple sectors. Nominally, pet product opportunities and events are found in the Leisure and Tourism sector, but are sometimes also registered under sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, chemicals, construction, giftware, household goods, retail + luxury and textiles.

Open To Export Service

The Open to Export Service is a new, free online community that gives small businesses the guidance and in-depth information they need to expand their business abroad. Companies will receive bespoke answers to meet their business needs in new markets, access practical information on export topics, connect and engage with a range of exporters and explore the latest international opportunities for their business. See http://opentoexport.com/.  Country guides can be found at http://opentoexport.com/countries/.

For firms wishing to conduct or commission their own in-depth research into an overseas market, there may be the possibility of obtaining funding of up to 50% of the costs of a report through the Export Marketing Research Scheme.  Detailed applications for funding have to be made well in advance, and there are numerous guidelines that should be followed. Further details on the scheme are available at https://www.gov.uk/export-marketing-research-scheme. The scheme can be contacted at info@ukemrs.com or at phone number 0845 0342111.

UK Export Finance

In the last couple of years the government has considerably increased the financial services and support available to exporters, though much of this is still primarily targetted at large scale projects. But where SME’s are having trouble getting short-term credit insurance, UKEF may be able to help. UKEF can also provide advice and assistance through its regional Export Finance Advisors on trade finance issues to companies of all sizes – see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-regional-export-finance-advisors. For details of the support that UK Export finance (UKEF) can offer exporters see; https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-export-finance-products-and-services. Aside from the export insurance policy for certain markets where credit insurance is not readily forthcoming through private insurance companies, there are a number of other schemes including the Bond Support Scheme, Bond Insurance Policy, the Export Working Capital Scheme, Letter of Credit Guarantee Scheme, Buyer credit Facilities and Direct Lending Facility. For further details see the UKEF website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-export-finance. Some of these schemes are more relevant to capital financing and long-term projects rather than to sales of fast moving consumer goods.

Business Risk Reports from the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) are also available at the following webpage; https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/overseas-business-risk.  These cover political and economic risks, human rights issues, bribery, terrorism, cyber security, criminal activity, and intellectual property. You can search by continent/region and by country to establish which countries have individual business risk reports. The FCO also provides travel advice at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

There is also a service to help manufacturers to improve all aspects of their communications with export customers under the Export Communications Review (ECR) see the following webpage https://www.gov.uk/export-communications-review for details. The scheme looks at different aspects of how your company overcomes language barriers in respect of product literature, websites and many other means of communication. It can also look at cultural issues, social media etc.  Each review costs £500 but many eligible companies can receive a £250 subsidy – see the website for more details. Some PetQuip members have used this service, have found it very practical and rated it very highly. A number of regional UKTI website optimisation master-classes and workshops are on offer at the events website https://www.events.ukti.gov.uk– and PetQuip will be following up on the introductory seminar session on ECR last year.

E-Exporting

UK Trade & Investment's (UKTI) e-Exporting Programme can help UK companies and brands sell products overseas through online channels. By joining UKTI’s e-Exporting Programme, UK companies and brands can reach consumers overseas through e-marketplaces.
An e-marketplace is an online location that provides a platform for companies of all sizes to do business through e-commerce. Popular e-marketplaces include Amazon, Tmall and eBay. UKTI have identified over 400 e-marketplaces worldwide. This service is targeted at retailers and leading brands who wish to reach customers through the leading online platforms. For further details see; https://www.gov.uk/e-exporting or contact your local ITA.

Medium-Sized Businesses

Whilst many of UKTI’s services target SMEs, most recently, UKTI has introduced a more tailored focus of support for medium sized businesses (i.e. those companies with turnovers of between £25m - £250 million). For details see https://www.gov.uk/mid-sized-business. If you have a turnover of over £25 million and have not yet been contacted by UKTI, we recommend that you take advantage of the services on offer.

High Value Opportunities

This programme helps UK businesses access large scale overseas procurement projects. It identifies opportunities as they become available and helps businesses secure contracts.  This may not be appropriate for the vast majority of our members, except perhaps those looking to get involved in large–scale retail developments. For further details of the nature and scope of this service, see; https://www.gov.uk/high-value-opportunities.  

Many PetQuip members will be familiar with the UKTI Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) funding for SME’s at international trade shows such as spoga+gafa, Interzoo, Global Pet Expo and Zoomark and any other shows where PetQuip take UKTI funded British exhibiting groups. We highlight these opportunities to you when recruiting British exhibiting groups and when featuring the shows themselves in Gardenex and PetQuip News but the following UKTI web-page outlines the service in general terms - https://www.gov.uk/tradeshow-access-programme. In 2014, the level of funding for eligible SMEs was £1,500 for European shows, £2,000 for shows outside Europe. There are a number of criteria for receiving funding based on the size of the company, the number of previous grants that your company has received etc. Please call us if you need further advice on eligibility criteria, details of this year’s funding for individual shows and for details of how to apply.

Look out for details later in the year of the next UKTI Export Week which usually takes place in November. The Export Week is a whole series of regional events including seminars on a wide variety of exporting topics. There is the opportunity to meet with over 100 UKTI Trade Officers worldwide as part of UKTI’s flagship road show, Explore Export. In 2014, the event visited 11 venues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. UK companies were able to apply for 1-2-1 meetings. If there are particular markets that you are interested in and want to know whether it would be right for you, this is an opportunity to meet with local experts. Full details of all the regional events relating to Export Week will be placed at http://www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk/full/ - dates for 2015 are not yet confirmed.

To sum up, UK Trade &  Investment provides a range of funding opportunities and general practical advice and support to all UK exporters.

 

 

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