Committee reports on government’s trade and investment strategy

11 July 2011 #SMMT News

Today, the House of Commons Business Innovation and Skills Committee published a report into trade policy and government’s strategy to support UK exports.

The Committee welcomed the direction of the new strategy, which it considered had gone some way to address business concerns. It also recognised innovative policies and a clearer focus across Whitehall on trade promotion.

“The Commons Business Innovation and Skills Committee’s report highlights the importance of trade, investment and increasing the value of UK exports in stimulating future economic growth. Recent automotive industry investment announcements demonstrate that the sector is playing a central role in supporting rebalanced, sustainable growth,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “SMMT welcomes the Committee’s report and continues to call on government to adopt a strong, balanced and fair trade policy that promotes manufacturing and inward investment.”

The Committee recommended that government should consider what incentives can be put in place to help companies to export their goods and services. Additionally, it reiterated the importance of UKTI’s Trade Show Access Programme, suggesting that a more selective approach to supporting Trade Shows should be followed in light of budget cuts.

While the report provided detailed analysis of the effectiveness of UKTI and its priorities, it questioned the pace of the Department’s policy formation. In particular, it drew attention to the delay in publishing the UKTI’s strategy for business support and the time taken to appoint both a Trade Minister and Chief Executive of UKTI.

The report examined government’s ability to deliver on the strategy given the reduction in funding available to the Department and its delivery organisations. It highlights the risk of reducing UKTI’s budget, services and trade advisers. While it welcomed government’s ambition to make UKTI a more entrepreneurial organisation, the Committee remained unconvinced that it will be able to attract the right people from the private sector given these constraints.

Adrian Bailey, Chair of the Committee said, “The government has recognised the importance of UK businesses, especially SMEs, to sustaining the economic recovery. The Department and UKTI play a key role in supporting them as they move into overseas markets. They have delivered a good strategy, but we are not convinced that they have matched this with sufficient resources.”

Follow this link to read the full report.

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