Credit insurer Atradius has urged the Government not to make any more cuts to the aid and support offered to UK exporters, warning that further reductions in help could harm the country’s flourishing overseas trade.
In a speech to the All-Party Parliamentary Export Group at the House of Commons, Will Clark, Regional Director for Atradius in the UK and Ireland, NAFTA and Australasia, said changes to the Government’s Trade Fair Support scheme were bad for business, whereas plans to regionalise export support would result in more bureaucracy.
Speaking about the Government’s curtailing of the “Trade Fair Support” and mission schemes, Clark told the All-Party Group: “Each year, more than 9,000 companies are taken abroad to some 450 trade shows and trade missions, and there is no doubt that small firms value these services. Our own export surveys have confirmed as much over the years.
“The decision not to deliver such support nationally by appropriate trade associations could well dilute the UK’s trading profile abroad, with serious loss of export earnings. Further, the idea of regionalising this support, with funds divided up among regional trade directors – in effect creating nine replicates throughout the country, seems unnecessarily bureaucratic at a time when the outcry is for less red tape.”
Clark said that Atradius, which insures £20 billion in trade debts in the UK every year, supported other groups and associations in their opposition to the move, which so far includes BEXA (British Exporters Association), BEAMA (British Electrotechnical Manufacturers Association), the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Sponsors’ Alliance.
He added: “We realise that the proposals are now being implemented but, as a champion of exporters, might we add our voice to the appeals for no further curtailments in this area and indeed a desire for simplicity and greater accessibility to what services are available.”
The comments came as Clark addressed the All-Party Group at the House of Commons on Monday, 11 July. Atradius also urged the Government to adopt a number of measures it believes will improve the level of support offered to UK exporters.
These included regular and detailed research amongst UK exporters to assess what services they need and how they rate existing public services for exporters and merging the Institute of Export and the British Exporters’ Association to give ‘one voice’ to exporters and improve lobbying.