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‘Bonfire of the barriers’ promised for UK exporters

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The government has promised a ‘bonfire’ of the current barriers to international trade for exporting business in the UK. 

International trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan made the announcement as part of a new drive to reduce red tape and barriers to exports around the world – estimated to be worth £20bn in economic benefit for British firms. 

There are 100 priority issues that have been identified by the Department for International Trade, including regulations on meat exports to Asia, rules delaying British medical devices entering South Africa, and restrictions on UK lawyers operating in Japan. 

The move is part of ongoing post-Brexit work to strengthen or create new trading routes for UK businesses outside of the EU. 

Trevelyan said in a statement that: “Every week we remove trade barriers somewhere around the world, helping more and more businesses all over the country.

“We know that businesses who export pay higher wages and are more productive than businesses who do not, but too often, complex trade rules and practical obstacles prevent them selling overseas.

“This bonfire of the barriers will grow our economy by allowing our brilliant businesses to satisfy the enormous global appetite for their goods and services.”

Whilst Brexit has caused major upheaval for the majority of import/export businesses in the UK, leaving the European Union has allowed the UK government to pursue independent trade agreements around the world, as well as addressing specific blockers on British trade. 

These include opening the Chinese market for UK lamb for the first time, worth £1.5bn a year, as well as beef in South Korea which within the next five years is hoped will open a market worth £2.5bn to British producers. 

So far, the DiT has identified and resolved around 400 trade barriers in the last two years, including barriers for individual businesses, including VetPlus where overcoming bureaucratic issues enabled the Lancashire-based firm to export pet supplements to India in a move worth £1.4m. 

VetPlus EMEA regional manager, Anthony Stewart, commented that: “Being able to meet the different compliance requirements across the markets we operate in is extremely important to ensure the availability of our products for vets and pet owners.

“Recently, we ran into a challenge in exporting our products to India and the support from the DIT was fantastic. They were able to put us in touch with the right people to help us liaise with the Indian authorities and facilitate the appropriate documentation to enable us to re-start the export of our products to India.”

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