Small, and Medium-Sized Businesses in the South of England Join Consultation with UK Government on the Future UK-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
1 October 2020
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Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) from across the South of England joined a BritishAmerican Business (BAB) virtual roundtable discussion with the UK Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart MP yesterday, as part of a series of consultations carried out by the Department for International Trade (DIT) in partnership with BAB about the role that UK-U.S. trade and investment plays in local economies.
The meeting provided the opportunity for SMEs in the South of England to provide direct feedback to Minister Stuart on their UK-U.S. trade and investment stories. Representatives from businesses including Salcombe Gin, Ecotile Flooring Ltd, and Brompton Bicycle discussed the barriers the currently face when exporting, importing, and investing in the U.S., where they see opportunities to grow their businesses in the U.S., and how a UK-U.S. Free Trade Agreement should work to their benefit.
Lucinda O’Reilly, Marketing & Exports Director, Ecotile Flooring Ltd said:
“We were delighted to participate in today’s consultation and feed directly into the negotiation process. The U.S. is a hugely important market for us, so fostering a stronger relationship between the UK and U.S. through a Free Trade Agreement will be crucial to our continued growth both at home and across the pond.”
17,411 businesses in the South of England export £40,800 of goods to the United States every minute, or £21.4bn each year. Indicative estimates show that a Free Trade Agreement with the United States could bring a £1.56bn boost to the economy in the South of England each year in the long-run*, and lower tariffs on important industries to the South, such as Automotive Engineering, Clothing & Textiles, and Agricultural products such as cheese and eggs.
SMEs make up 99.9% of all businesses in the UK, contributing £2.2tr to the UK economy every year. A UK-U.S. FTA can remove, lower or simplify trade barriers for the 31,600 SMEs that already export to the United States, and open up the market for SMEs with transatlantic ambitions.
Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Exports said:
“With more than 17,000 businesses from the South West, South East and London currently exporting goods to the US, the South of England could benefit greatly from a trade deal, potentially leading to better jobs and higher wages. From dairy to digital, a good trade deal can make exporting easier for SMEs across the South currently trading with the US, or create more opportunities for businesses looking to break into the American market for the first time.
“We want our trade policy agenda to work for producers and consumers across the UK, so it’s great to see so many SMEs joining the conversation with DIT and BritishAmerican Business.”
Emanuel Adam, Executive Director London, Director of Policy & Trade, BritishAmerican Business said:
“By bringing growing businesses from across the UK’s South together with decision makers in government; this series itself breaks barriers. We applaud the UK Government for sticking to its promise: That a future U.S.-UK FTA will deliver toSMEs across the UK because it reflects what these companies have to say.”
The consultation series will see BAB and the DIT also sit down with SMEs in in other regions across the UK throughout September and October.
A report summarising the input received from this consultation will be available afterwards.
*This is based on the combined impact for the South West, South East and London