Global Business Network Live: Key takeaways

On 1 November 2016, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) held its Global Business Network Live 2016 conference (previously the annual International Trade Conference) in London. Here’s our overview of the main topics discussed:

BCC GBNL 16 Adam Marshall

There is a huge amount of export support available to British businesses

In his introduction to the event, BCC President Francis Martin highlighted that there is significant practical support available for UK exporters, from both the local and international Chambers network.

There are 52 accredited Chambers across the UK and a further 29 Chambers of Commerce globally which support almost 30,000 exporters each year. It’s easy for businesses to visit their local Chamber and get connected to another in their chosen market. The Global Business Network, launched in 2015, will work with businesses to facilitate this.

Lord Price CVO, Minister of State for Trade Policy, urged companies to take advantage of support such as the Department of International Trade’s UK Exporter Directory, which allows buyers worldwide to search for UK businesses who export goods or services.

BCC Director General Adam Marshall called on the government to do more to directly support SMEs and their export plans. He recommended more face-to-face support, through trade fairs and trade missions abroad, to help businesses get closer to their international customers. 

Businesses need to help design Britain’s trading future outside the EU

Adam Marshall also addressed the economic uncertainty following the EU Referendum. Many businesses have concerns about changing regulations and standards, but the BCC has a strong desire to keep continuity in trading arrangements.

Within this period of uncertainty though, many people are still optimistic about the future. An audience poll found that the majority of attendees felt that Brexit was an opportunity for British exporters.

Francis Martin said “We have the potential to reinvent ourselves as a great trading nation again,” to which Lord Price added: “We need businesses to help design Britain’s trading future outside the EU”.

Lord Price also reminded attendees that British products and services still have an excellent reputation worldwide, and are admired for their quality and heritage. Whilst it is important to maintain easy access to the European market, he emphasised that the focus should be on negotiating new trading arrangements with non-EU countries, through collaboration between businesses, academics, and trade experts.

“Businesses that trade internationally are more productive, profitable, and resilient”
Lord Price CVO, Minister of State for Trade Policy

We will be sharing more in-depth insights from individual Global Business Network Live 2016 sessions as articles here on the DHL Guide, including our own session on the secrets to SME exporter success. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when the new articles are out.


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