FREE GUIDE: Finding international agents & distributors, the benefits & pitfalls

Take the Export Readiness Quiz

Is your business ready to expand globally and capitalise on a world of opportunities that awaits?

You can assess your readiness for export with our free Export Readiness Quiz! Answer just 16 questions and we’ll provide you with an Export Readiness Score and breakdown of the areas where you need to pay attention to be in a position to successfully start or expand your journey into international markets.

We look at four key areas:

Company – How prepared is your business, it’s people, systems and procedures for export?
Market Knowledge – How well do you know your potential market and where the best opportunities lie?
Export Strategy – Is your strategy sufficiently defined and detailed to ensure export success?
Barriers to Entry – How aware are you of the barriers to entry such as customs rules and regulations, competition, product development requirements?

The final report will identify recommended improvements and further actions you should take to be a successful exporter. From this you can develop your Export Readiness Action Plan. 

There is a world full of opportunities out there. Carefully planning and preparing will help you to profitably expand into international markets. 

Don’t delay. Start today! Take the quiz here.

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UK exporters unclear on upcoming changes to British border checks 

A straw poll as part of UK exporters has unearthed how unprepared most are for upcoming changes to the British border and how they will affect them. 

Taken on an Institute of Export & International Trade webinar, just 6% of attendees said they were ‘completely clear’ about upcoming changes, whilst 16% said they were ‘clear’. 

The question relates to the government’s Border Target Operating Model which sets out how the UK will approach checks on some goods entering from the EU – including several sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements. 

The new border controls are designed to protect the UK against security and biosecurity threats and to ensure a smooth flow of goods, delivered as part of the 2025 Border Strategy.

Kevin Shakespeare of the IOE&IT noted: “There’s a lot going on in the trade and customs space in the UK. It can be a challenge to keep up, but there are also opportunities for businesses operating compliantly, that take the time to analyse and stay up-to-date on the changes.”

The 200-page document explains how the UK will adopt a digitised and risk-based approach to border checks with agencies conducting different levels of checks depending on the risk category of the product. 

The same approach will then also be applied to non-EU goods entering GB. 

IOE&IT customs specialist Anna Doherty further explained: “The impact of the model will vary depending on what you trade.

“For example, for exporters of SPS goods, the EU has been implementing controls right from the end of the transition period. To bring these checks into the UK will even out the playing field for these businesses.

“The model is also bringing in a range of simplifications. If you’re bringing in SPS goods from the rest of the world, then the modernisation in this regime will allow you to align your processes.”

Read more: Planned post-Brexit checks on EU food imports delayed again

UK importers and exporters have more to contend with too over the next 18 months, including the migration to CDS for exporters, a new NCTS5 system for transit, and the Windsor Framework. 

Three key milestones that exporters need to know as part of the British Border Operating Model include: 

  • 31 January 2024 – The introduction of health certification on imports of medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products and high-risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU
  • 30 April 2024 – The introduction of documentary and risk-based identity and physical checks on medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products and high-risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU. At this point, Imports of Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods from the rest of the world will begin to benefit from the new risk-based model

31 October 2024 – Safety and Security declarations for EU imports will come into force from 31 October 2024. Alongside this, we will introduce a reduced dataset for imports

If your business is yet to fully understand what upcoming changes mean for continued operations, Go Exporting can help you uncover the practical steps you need to make to remain compliant, continue seamless trade, and even spot an opportunity for growth. 

Find out more about our customs and compliance reports, or get in touch directly here.

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UK signs trade agreement with Washington State

The Department for Business and Trade has announced a new trade agreement with Washington state.

The deal, or memorandum of understanding on trade, is the sixth such agreement that’s been made which in total offers UK businesses further opportunities to tap into markets worth £2.2tn.

The memorandum with Washington focuses on aerospace with the State the home of Boeing. Industries minister, Nusrat Ghani, will travel to Seattle shortly to sign the pact and lead 35 UK firms at a joining Boeing and Department for Business and Trade showcase event.

The UK has already signed MoUs with Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah.

Ghani said of the agreement: “Our pact with the state of Washington is a win for the UK, opening a door for our businesses to trade more openly and unlock new opportunities in key sectors.

“Each US state is a massive global market in its own right, and many have economies larger than the GDP of whole countries. By notching up our sixth such deal we’ve surpassed the £2 trillion mark for combined GDP of states who’ve done a deal with the UK, with many more in our sights.”

Read more: Marr: Growing crisis for UK’s exporting industry

“This particular deal will be fantastic for our aerospace industry through investor intros, trade missions, and increasing access to procurement markets. I’m delighted to join Boeing and our handpicked group of innovative UK companies to discuss how Government and industry can work together to create jobs and grow the economy.”

The UK is striking deals with individual States in lieu of a comprehensive trade agreement with the United States – a prize that has long been sought since Brexit. However, US concerns over the Irish border since leaving the EU has put talks on hold.

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Exporting ‘critical’ to the future of eight in 10 UK firms

At Go Exporting, we know how critical exports can be to the long-term success of a business – it’s something we talk about all the time! And we love it when we see other businesses embodying that view. 

And new research from Alibaba in partnership with the Institute of Export and International Trade has shown that eight in 10 UK firms agree and see exporting as critical to the future of their business. 

The data, released in April this year, surveyed more than 3,000 UK businesses and found that 75% expected export sales to rise over the coming months, whilst a quarter expected significant increases in international trade activity. 

What’s more, and especially important after the last three years of upheaval and continued economic headwinds, 81% of businesses surveyed said that exporting had made their business stronger. 

“British businesses believe that export is integral to their success. It is positive to see exporters anticipating even further export sales growth in the next 12 months.”


If your business is new to exporting, or has just taken its first bold steps into international markets, Go Exporting can help you profitably achieve your goals. 

Read more: Value of UK exports rises £1bn as trade deficit narrows

Our export readiness audits help businesses to establish what work they need to do in terms of training, processes, policies and management in order to smoothly transition into a successful exporting company. 
Just want to read more about exporting for the first time? Then sign-up to our free Expert Exporter resource hub for a range of detailed guides on how to export for the very first time.

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The surprising journey to global success

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to go from a local sensation to a global powerhouse, then I’ve got a story that will captivate your imagination and transform your perspective. Brace yourself for an extraordinary tale of triumph against all odds.

Once upon a time, in the glamorous world of fashion, there was a renowned brand called ABC Fashion. Known for their chic designs and trendsetting styles, they set their sights on conquering international markets. But little did they know that their journey would be filled with unexpected twists and valuable lessons.

ABC Fashion believed that partnering with a distributor would be the key to instant market access. However, their path to success turned out to be far more complex than they had anticipated. The vibrant patterns and bold colours that made ABC Fashion famous fell flat among the more subdued and classic preferences of foreign consumers.

But ABC Fashion was not one to back down. They quickly realized that conquering new markets required more than just relying on a distributor. They immersed themselves in the local culture, studying fashion trends, consumer behaviour, and the preferences of the target audience.

With their newfound insights, ABC Fashion made a daring decision. They adapted their designs to cater to the local market, striking a delicate balance between their brand identity and the cultural nuances of the foreign market. And to their surprise, the tweaked designs began to resonate with fashion enthusiasts.

But their challenges didn’t end there. ABC Fashion realised that relying solely on a distributor was not enough to establish a strong market presence. They took matters into their own hands, setting up a dedicated team to oversee the distribution process and working closely with retailers to create a unique shopping experience that showcased their brand.

Through their perseverance and willingness to adapt, ABC Fashion emerged as a global success story. They shattered the myth of instant market access and proved that strategic planning, cultural understanding, and taking ownership of the distribution process were the true keys to success.

I wanted to share this incredible journey with you because it holds valuable insights that can transform your approach to market expansion. In our fast-paced world, it’s essential to embrace a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond traditional notions of success.

Now, take a moment to reflect on ABC Fashion’s story. It’s a testament to the power of perseverance, adaptation, and thinking outside the box. In the following sections of this article, we’ll delve deeper into the counterintuitive insights and practical strategies that emerged from their journey.

There’s an important lesson that emerges—a lesson that challenges conventional wisdom and provides valuable guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s a lesson that reminds us that success in the global market goes beyond relying on a distributor alone. So, let’s dive deeper and uncover the counterintuitive insight that can transform the way we approach market expansion.

A distributor does not guarantee instant market access

While partnering with a distributor can provide certain advantages, such as local expertise and distribution networks, it’s essential to remember that true market success requires more than a simple alliance. The story of ABC Fashion taught us that understanding the local culture, adapting our strategies to match consumer preferences, and taking ownership of the distribution process are vital steps on the path to success.

By embracing a comprehensive approach, we gain the power to navigate the intricate landscape of global markets with confidence. It’s about forging genuine connections, engaging in market research, and creating experiences that resonate with our target audience. This insight shatters the myth of overnight success and invites us to embrace a strategic, long-term mindset that paves the way for sustainable growth.

So, harness the lessons learned from ABC Fashion’s journey and apply them to your own ventures. Use them to navigate the intricacies of international markets and build a solid foundation for success.

Now that we’ve explored the importance of strategic planning and understanding the dynamics of international markets, it’s time to equip ourselves with the right tools to navigate this intricate landscape. That’s where the PartnerTrack Service from Go Exporting comes in—an invaluable resource designed to help businesses like yours find the perfect route to market. So, let’s take a moment to discover how this service can revolutionise our approach to global expansion.

Introducing the PartnerTrack Service – finding the right route to market. With this service, we work closely with you to define your ideal partner or distributor, identifying the specific attributes they need to possess to effectively navigate your market sector. Our expert team conducts a thorough search, meticulously vetting potential candidates to present you with the best options, allowing you to make the final decision confidently.

Program Highlights:

1. Understand exactly the ideal profile for your partner or distributor.

2. Search the target market for companies that match your ideal profile.

3. Contact potential partners on your behalf to assess their interest and suitability.

4. Evaluate their fit to your profile and the required attributes for success.

5. Arrange meetings, facilitating your ability to make the final choice of your ideal partner or distributor.

By leveraging the PartnerTrack Service, you gain a competitive edge in the market, ensuring that you find a partner who aligns with your vision and has the necessary expertise to support your growth. With our comprehensive approach and meticulous evaluation process, we eliminate the guesswork, saving you time, effort, and potential pitfalls along the way.

Take the next step towards achieving global market success. Click here to learn more about the PartnerTrack Service and discover how it can transform your journey to finding the ideal partner or distributor for your business.

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FREE webinar: How to create a winning export strategy

Are you looking to take your business to the next level and capitalise on the opportunities that the global marketplace presents?

If you’re thinking about exporting for the first time, then you need this free Lunch and Learn webinar with Go Exporting CEO Mike Wilson taking place on 18th July at 12pm.

In the webinar, Mike will take you through the steps of developing your own export strategy as well as answering your specific questions.

You will learn;

  • What an exporting strategy is and how to create one for your business
  • Discover how to decide where to export and what markets to sell to
  • Overcome challenges that you may face as you start trading overseas

Book your free place by signing up here.

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Value of UK exports rises £1bn as trade deficit narrows

The latest economic data from the Office for National Statistics has shown the value of UK exports rising as the trade deficit narrows. 

As part of the ONS’ economic update, showing GDP returning to growth of 0.2% in April and 0.1% in Q1 overall, data highlighted how the value of UK exports rose in April alone by £1bn or 3.4%. Imports decreased by 1.4% (£0.7bn) at the same time, leaving the trade deficit at £12.3bn. 

The deficit for goods narrowed by £107bn to £52.5bn, whilst the service industry continued to thrive with a surplus increasing £1.9bn to £49.3bn. 

Read more: 50% of revenue for UK exporters comes from overseas but one in four still aren’t trading abroad

The ONS suggested that strong service-sector performance was the key reason why, overall, the economy stayed in the black during Q1 and returned to growth, masking falls in production output and a 0.6% reduction in construction activity. 

Brexit causing drag on exports

Despite some more optimistic data from the ONS, the exports industry is still struggling to adapt to the post-Brexit business environment. 

A report released this week from the UN suggests that all other G7 countries, aside from Japan, have outpaced the UK exports market. In fact, goods and services exports in the EU grew by over 29% between 2012 and 2021. In the UK, that figure was just 6%. 

If your business is looking to increase international sales but are struggling to adapt to the new trading environment, Go Exporting can help.

We specialise in helping companies just like yours to research, plan and execute an exports plan to drive sales growth in key territories. 

Learn more about how we can start to improve your international sales here.

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UK and US look to strengthen economic security through Atlantic Declaration 

Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden announced a new economic agreement this week, designed to strengthen critical supply chains as well as support investments in future technologies. 

The Declaration recognises the already close ties between the two nations whilst this new agreement sets out a pathway to strengthen those economic bonds to move quicker and increasingly in lockstep in future. 

The Declaration covers quite a bit of ground, including:

  • More information sharing during a crisis to reduce tech supply chain vulnerabilities 
  • A new civil nuclear partnership
  • A new ‘data bridge’ for UK-US data sharing
  • A new international summit on AI safety 
  • Cooperation to stop adversaries from developing more powerful tech
  • Joint research into AI, 5G and 6G, quantum, engineering biology and semi-conductors
  • A potential pathway for UK firms to benefit from US government investment 

Read more detail on the UK government website here

Sunak said of the agreement that: “It’s natural that, when faced with the greatest transformation in our economies since the industrial revolution, we would look to each other to build a stronger economic future together.

“The Atlantic Declaration sets a new standard for economic cooperation, propelling our economies into the future so we can protect our people, create jobs and grow our economies together.”

What does this mean for exporters? 

At the moment, not too much. This agreement is a far cry from the manifesto-promised fully-fledged trade deal that the Conservative party offered in 2019. Three US Presidents have kicked that can down the road in succession, in part due to worries over the UK’s handling of Brexit and Northern Ireland. 

Read more: Talks over UK – US trade deal unlikely to restart until 2025

It does mean there may be new opportunities, and updated regulations, to look out for in the medium term. 

Updated rules on data transfer would make it a lot easier for UK and US firms to work in lockstep with less red tape and save an estimated £92m each year. And any new pathway to deride investment from a government is a great opportunity should any UK-based firm be able to capitalise on it. 

Negotiations are now underway over many aspects of the new partnership, so expect further announcements towards the end of 2023. 

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All change again: UK Gov updates plan for goods checks

The UK government has published its updated plan for checks on goods crossing the UK Border. 

This new Target Operating Model will now introduce import checks at the UK Border on ALL goods, as well as begin the introduction of a Single Trade Window together with the planned end of CHIEF in November 2023.

The new Border Operating Model will be digitally driven through the proposed ‘Single Trade Window’- a one-stop electronic portal, which aims to ease and speed up the customs process, and will give greater granularity for the monitoring and detection and enforcement of non-compliant activities.

So what is going to happen?

  1. All imports will be checked at the Border by Border Force/HMRC for compliance
  2. New ‘Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS)’ controls will be enforced especially on food products
  3. Additional Safety & Security controls on imports
  4. Controls are expected to start in October 2023
  5. New risk-based border processes will come into effect
  6. Changeover from CHIEF to CDS for exports will take place

What does this mean for you?

There is little detail is available on what the new processes are going to be, but it will cause some supply chain disruption- especially in agrifoods and food products

Based on experience you can expect delays in receiving or sending goods due to:

  • Border congestion
  • Pre-notification requirements of certain goods
  • Full physical inspections
  • Incorrect documentation 
  • HMRC computer system outages
  • Lock in any prices now before the cost effects of the import controls impact bite

What should you do?

  • Make sure you have enough stock to ride out a month of disruption
  • Plan any shipments for either before October or after October
  • Ensure shipping documents are complete with the right commodity code, certificates, and licences 
  • Keep your import and export records up to date

Expected timeline

31 October 2023 

– Export health certificates and phytosanitary certificates are to be introduced for medium risk animal products, plant, and plant products imported to GB from the EU.

End of 2023

Permanent waivers introduced from the requirement to submit Safety and Security declarations on certain categories of low-risk movements – fish which have been caught in UK territorial seas and landed outside of the UK, outbound transit and certain outbound freeport goods.

31 January 2024

-Documentary checks and physical and identity checks at the border are introduced for medium-risk animal products, plant and plant products imported to GB from the EU. 

The global model of controls is introduced for rest of the world imports, Health certificates will no longer be required for low-risk goods and pre-notification will no longer be required for low risk plant and plant products.

31 October 2024 

– Safety and Security declarations are required for EU imports. Alongside this, use of the UK Single Trade Window will remove duplication across pre-arrival datasets where possible.

Confused? Then reach out for help

Go Exporting provides customs and compliance advice to clients in the UK and around the world. We answer your urgent questions or provide a complete analysis culminating in a step-by-step procedure for you to follow which ensures your products move from country to country with the minimum of fuss and duties.

Learn more about how we can support your business here.

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UK exporters optimistic on benefits of Aus, NZ agreements as trade deals come into effect

Update: The UK’s trade deals with Australia and New Zealand came into effect on 31st May 2023 and are now live.

UK exporters are getting ready to enjoy the benefits of the UK’s new trading arrangement with Australia and New Zealand. 

The first brand new free trade deals sealed by the UK government following Brexit, the agreements with both nations will see tariffs removed on thousands of goods as well as enhanced access for UK service providers to do business in the respective countries. 

Following some final regulatory tweaking, it’s expected that both trade deals will go live at midnight on 31st May. 

Both deals are expected to increase long-term bilateral traded by up to 59% whilst also enhancing investment opportunities and access to government contracts, producing tariff-free access to both markets for all British goods, flexibility on rules of origin, removal of UK import tariffs on the majority of goods from Australia and New Zealand, and more opportunities for UK professionals to work in both nations. 

Read more: UK to join £11 trillion CPTPP trading bloc

Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, said on the deals’ impending launches that: “With these two deals the UK is using our status as an independent trading nation to tailor agreements to our country’s economic strengths. Alongside our recent conclusion of talks to join CPTPP, the government is forging a bold new future alongside the world’s most dynamic and fast-growing economies.

“Putting these trade deals into action will help create new opportunities for business, boosting wages and helping spur economic growth.”

UK exporters confident of future benefits

A small poll of 200 business leaders in the UK by the Institute of Export & International Trade found that 95% were confident they’d be able to benefit from both trade deals with nearly eight in 10 noting that reduced tariffs was a huge benefit. 

However, half said that the biggest potential stumbling block will likely be the distance between the trading nations, whilst a lack of market knowledge of Australia, in particular, could be a hurdle. 

If your business is looking to benefit from the new free trading agreements with Australia and New Zealand but aren’t sure where to start, then Go Exporting can help. 

We can help to assess the global market potential for your company and products and pinpoint specific nations where the potential demand is highest. 

Learn more about how we can help you make the right market entry decisions with the clarity of real market information here

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