28 Gen Britain – Open for Business
The government has repeatedly said that success in international trade is at the heart of its long term economic plan for Britain. Whether supporting international businesses to establish a base within the UK or helping UK businesses to trade overseas, the message is simply that Britain is open for business.
Spearheading the international drive is UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) which is mandated to work with businesses and co-ordinate government actions with a view towards growing international trade. To this end UKTI has released a corporate report “Britain Open for Business: The Next Phase.” The report, which sits at the mid-point of the current 5 year ‘Britain Open for Business’ strategy, looks back at the successes of the last three years and sets out ways in which UKTI intends to build on the strategy in the years to come.
Acknowledging that the UK has some way to go towards achieving the export target of £1 trillion by 2020, the report highlights recent successes in China and in sectors such as aerospace and automotive. With UKTI having directly supported 35,000 companies in 2013, the focus is now on high growth markets, allied to four main pathways to growth; these being high growth and innovative small companies, high value opportunities, targeted inward investment and building strategic relationships.
Organisations which may be comfortable with UK regulations can very easily run aground when moving into international waters. For example towards the end of 2013 Companies House tweeted a reminder on the importance of following cross-border merger regulations and HMRC also regularly issues updates on the tax implications of trading overseas. Directors’ duty of care extends to international transactions including, as a result of Chandler v Cape (2011), in certain circumstances the actions of overseas subsidiaries; so it is vital that organisations undertake full research before moving into international trade.
The same duty of care and need for research is true for international organisations which are considering moving into the UK marketplace, maybe as part of setting up a UK subsidiary. This may take the form of independent research, taking advantage of UKTI’s expertise or working with a specialist organisation such as Elemental CoSec. We are members of the UK’s advisory network and recognised as a specialist in assisting international businesses which are looking to set up in the UK.
Whether in securing free trade agreements, taking steps to strengthen supply chains or providing advice and access to markets, the message from the UKTI is that it intends to increase the range, quality and impact of its programme. Partly this will be achieved by growing and deepening its links with non-government partners “whilst working towards a seamless whole-Government approach to trade and investment.” As a member of UKTI’s UK advisory network, Elemental CoSec stands ready to play its part in “Britain Open for Business: The Next Phase.”