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UK exporters don’t understand principles of trade digitalisation


The majority of exporters in the UK don’t understand the principles behind the government’s future plans to digitise international trade. 

According to a poll during an IOE&IT webinar last month, just 13% of participants on the call understood key terms to do with the digitisation strategy, including ‘single trade window’ and ‘ecosystem of trust’, and aren’t currently making preparations surrounding the 2025 Border Strategy. 

Deputy director of the IOE&IT Academy, Vicky Payne, said it wasn’t a surprise that such a low number were aware of upcoming changes to UK export rules and procedures, saying that: “They’re new terms for traders and anyone involved in international trade to get used to.

“It is new to people, but you need to start following government updates about programs like the Single Trade Window because it will become more important going forward.”

The digitalisation of trade is expected to add around 1% to UK GDP with over £200 billion in efficiency savings according to the International Chamber of Commerce, but with all the upheaval surrounding Brexit and businesses having to adapt to a new trading environment with the EU, it’s no surprise that exporting firms are yet to look further down to locate new challenges. 

Read more: Irish trade re-focuses on EU markets, away from GB

However, both the single trade window, and ecosystem of trust, could really help exporting firms mitigate some of the additional red tape, costs and delays seen in the wake of Brexit by helping to streamline and standardise processes. 

Whilst UK trade bodies believe that a potential functional launch date for the scheme of 2027 is doable, 40% of those attending the IOE&IT webinar said that lack of internal IT skills and resources would be a major stumbling block to adopting any new trading system, though over half said it would benefit speed and efficiency of international trading operations.

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