On 18th of October 2018 my company was fortunate to receive a free ticket to attend BCC International Trade Summit 2018 held at ETC venue located on 155 Bishops Gate in London. The ticket was courtesy of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce and I would like to express my utmost gratitude to CCC for providing us with this invaluable learning opportunity.
The event was incredibly useful, highly informative and was relevant to any business, large or small. My intention here is to share some of the key points from the Summit in the hope that those businesses which did not get a chance to be there would benefit from the important information and trends that were discussed throughout the day.
The Summit commenced with an introduction by Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of British Chambers of Commerce, who emphasised the importance of export trade for the British economy.
Some key statements from Dr Marshall that stood out to me included the following:
- UK is the second largest services exporting economy in the world giving way only to USA (not China as it is commonly perceived), which means not only that foreign trade is of vital significance to Britain, but also that Britain as the second largest exporter is of irreplaceable significance to the world.
- Only 13% of UK export trade is in EU which means that the biggest volume of such transactions happens outside of the European Union. That means that there is a huge demand for British services outside of the British Isles.
- An important point for us as a translation company is that apparently 60% of selling a product is in the service sector. That links success of international trade to service providers, including translation companies.
- There was a lot more but my aim is to provide a snapshot of vital knowledge that could benefit different product and service providers in the UK and beyond.
Baroness Rona Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion from the Department for International Trade (DIT) brought some positive spirit into Brexit and assured everyone present that the government is working very hard to guarantee a positive and productive future for British export trade after the UK leaves the European Union. She underlined that government is aware of the significance of the international trade for the UK economy and this forms the nucleus of Brexit negotiations.
Both Dr Marshall and Baroness Fairhead mentioned four international agreements which are currently negotiated by the British government. These include:
- free trade deal between Australia and UK;
- Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and UK;
- bilateral trade agreement between USA and UK;
- Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The CPTPP at the moment is very topical as the UK government launched public consultations regarding the agreement in line with “the government’s approach to a transparent and inclusive UK trade policy which takes in the views of MPs, devolved governments, businesses, civil society groups and consumers.”
According to the press release by UK government with announcement of the public consultations on the topic “If the UK were to join CPTPP, it would be the second largest economy in the group, and CPTPP’s coverage of global GDP would increase to around 17%. The agreement reduces 95% of tariffs along with other barriers to trade among its 11 members, including Canada, Japan and Singapore. The 11 existing members of CPTPP accounted for £82 billion of UK trade in 2016, more than the Netherlands, France or China. The economies of existing members are diverse, spanning a region which is a driving force of global economic growth. Many, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore have been growing substantially over the last 5 years, growth which the IMF projects will continue in the near future.”
This deal is hugely important and businesses, society groups as well as members of public are strongly invited to express their views on the issue.
The full text of the agreement can be found here.
The consultations will continue until 26 October 2018 — so if you have anything to say on the topic, please do it as soon as possible.
The link with full details of the consultations and link to the public survey can be found here.
The rest of the day consisted of the combination of informative talks and panel discussions with businesses across many sectors of the UK export economy.
Among key speakers were representatives from DHL, Bibbys, Moneycorp — who helped to organise the Summit.
The audience had the pleasure of listening to the owners of various companies trading across the Globe, many of whom started from one-man enterprises and grew to become significant contributors to the UK export economy.
The day allowed plenty of opportunities for networking and valuable discussions.
Last but not least — the refreshments and lunch were exquisitely delicious.
On behalf of Russian Translation World Ltd I would like to thank the British Chambers of Commerce and in particular Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, as well as all those who were involved into the organisation of the Summit.
This was a day to remember!