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Exports strategy

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched a Security Exports Strategy, at the defence exhibition DSEI in London Docklands, sub-titled ‘growing UK exports for global security’.

Priority markets are named as Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australia. The DSO (Defence and Security Organisation) at DIT says that its goal is ‘to be an enabler for the continued year on year growth of exports by British companies in the security sector. We hope to grow these from £4.85bn in 2017 to £7.3bn by 2022’, and to increase the number of security companies it supports.

Broadly speaking the document speaks in terms of encourage, inform, and connect (through trade missions). More practically, as for finance, it says it wants to ‘ensure that no viable UK security export fails for a lack of finance or insurance from the private sector through promotion of the UK Export Finance offer (UKEF) to the Small to Medium Enterprises [SMEs]’.

The document does speak of a ‘consistent approach’, a hint that the UK central government task of aiding security exporters is divided, with the Home Office, and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), quite apart from all the counter-terrorist and police agencies such as the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). On the practical side, it speaks of developing ‘compelling offers and campaigns to attract foreign buyers’, and ‘offering demonstrations to inward visits of foreign buyers’; and such fine things as ‘a coordinated trade and prosperity message’ when ministers and senior officials are overseas.

Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade said: “Britain’s security exports market is booming. Last year alone businesses collectively saw their overseas sales reach £5.2bn and this Government is committed to seeing that figure grow this year and beyond. This Strategy I am launching today seeks to do just that. By providing support for businesses, harnessing the UK’s global network using DIT’s Trade Commissioners, and promoting the UK Export Finance offer to business, we will ensure they remain the vanguard of security exports and services.”

The launch was at an event hosted by ADS, the defence, aerospace and security trade association. ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “The UK’s security and resilience sector is now worth £13.3bn to our economy, and the Security Export Strategy launched today will help it to further increase this vital contribution.

“This industry exported goods and services worth £5.2bn last year to markets around the world, in areas including critical national infrastructure, policing and counter terrorism. We look forward to working with the Government on implementing this export strategy and helping hundreds of innovative UK companies in the sector to access new overseas opportunities.”

It follows the signing of a collaborative agreement, with the UK’s Security and Resilience Industry Suppliers Community (RISC) in March. It sets out how the DIT, wider government and the sector will seek to work in partnership. It also follows the Government’s general 2018 Export Strategy. DIT’s Trade Commissioners and cross-Government is meant to support the specific needs of companies serving the security and resilience sector.

For the full 23-page document, visit the DIT website.


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