Foreword from Tim Flear MVO, HM Consul-General Milan and Director Italy, Department for International Trade
The United Kingdom is one of the world’s greatest trading nations. It is part of the country’s DNA. Indeed, exports have played a huge part in putting the “Great” into Great Britain.
But there is more to do, to help re-balance the UK economy. As part of its growth agenda the British Government has set ambitious and challenging targets to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 and to increase the number of exporters by 100,000, also by 2020. This is about creating both “value” and “volume” to strengthen the UK as a globally competitive exporter.
To help deliver Government targets, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which has been the Government organisation assisting UK firms – particularly, SMEs - to export and targeting foreign companies to invest in the UK, has been undergoing a transformation. There is already an increased, sharper focus on priority markets and sectors demonstrating the most potential for the UK to be a strong competitor and where support from the Government is critical to adding value.
However, in a move following her appointment as Prime Minister, Theresa May announced in July the creation of a new Department for International Trade (DIT) headed at Cabinet level by Dr Liam Fox MP. The Department brings together not just UKTI (whose separate identity is to be subsumed into the new DIT) but also an expanded trade policy directorate, which already includes the Export Control Organisation, as well as UK Export Finance. DIT represents a clear integration and elevation of the trade agenda, to help secure a better deal for the UK as it negotiates a successful exit from the EU and establishes new trading relationships with markets around the globe. For further information take a look at: www.gov.uk/dit.
There will be no initial change in the way the UK trades with Italy. The UK’s 10th largest market for the export of goods, Italy is already the target of intensified DIT efforts – backed up by the British Government’s five-year “Exporting is GREAT” campaign launched in November 2015 (visit: www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk) - to boost UK exports.
Almost whatever your sector, there are opportunities for you in Italy. Of course, making the move into any market, especially a new one, can feel like a leap into the unknown – not least when you are dealing with a different language, culture or regulations. Please contact me personally if you need advice on export opportunities in Italy (email@example.com). The UK’s success is built on the hard work and ingenuity of small and large businesses alike. We are keen to give you our support.
Tim Flear MVO
HM Consul-General Milan and Director Italy, Department for International Trade
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