Exporting: Help for Exporters
Key support resources for small businesses who need help with exporting overseas
There are a number of places where UK small businesses can seek help for exporting – from researching websites to organisations that provide support through to financial assistance – Below are listed a wealth of sources of help for exporters.
Your bank can provide a range of help on topics such as managing foreign transactions, trading overseas in sterling, owning assets abroad, exchange rates and managing foreign exchange risks. For more detailed financial advice and guidance on issues that affect you, you should talk to the international section of your bank.
If you can’t find the right person to talk to, you could contact the following people at the one of the five major banks who will point you in the right direction:
Head of Trade and Working Capital
T: +44 (0)1256 791401
Felipe Hsieh, Senior Manager,
TSC Client Management
M: +44 (0)7920 411997
T: +44 (0)20 7991 1706
Barry George, Senior Manager,
M: +44 (0)7793 670292
T: +44 (0)20 7463 1690
David I.Houghton MBE,
Director, Strategic Partnerships
M: +44 (0)7785 708611
Head of Trade Finance
M: +44 (0)7827 872312
Your accountant can provide you with a range of advice, from starting a business, organising your financial affairs, financial management and taxation.
You should also be aware that the Institute for Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has just launched a new scheme: small businesses across the UK are being offered free expert advice from ICAEW Chartered Accountants as part of an initiative called the Business Advice Service (BAS).
It aims to help small companies and start-ups with business and financial advice to help economic growth. Small businesses can find details of ICAEW chartered accountants in their local area at www.businessadviceservice.com
Your lawyer should also be able to help you.
Similar to the ICAEW’s BAS, the Law Society has many members which offer a service for small and medium enterprises Lawyers For Your Business is a network of 1,000 solicitor firms in England and Wales offering specialist advice and a free half-hour initial consultation to small and medium sized businesses. Advice can be sought on a range of legal issues – both domestic and international.
In 2012 the Law Society will also be working with its solicitor members to produce practical Doing international business guides aimed at SME firms new to exporting their products and services internationally.
The guides will look at some of the fundamental legal issues which small and medium enterprises need to consider when working internationally.
Topics being covered will include:
- international employment issues;
- international contracts;
- business structures;
- debt recovery;
- tax; and
- dispute resolution.
These guides will be available as publications, but also as webinars and will be promoted widely to small businesses.
For more information visit the Law Society’s website at www.lawsociety.org.uk
British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
The BCC, and its network of affiliated Chambers, support and advise businesses in all areas of international trade. With a worldwide network of bilateral and international chambers of commerce, the BCC can provide UK exporters with numerous services including: export documentation, market research, training, translation services and letters of credit.
For more information visit the BCC’s website at www.britishchambers.org.uk
The Institute of Export (IoE)
The Institute’s mission is to enhance the export performance of the UK by setting and raising professional standards in international trade management and export practice.They achieve this by the provision of education and training programmes.
The IoE offers recognised formal qualifications in international trade.It also runs a series of short training courses covering every aspect of international trade management, sales and marketing, logistics and documentary requirements, and international trade finance.
For more information visit the IoE website at www.export.org.uk
Export Control Organisation (ECO)
Any item exported from the UK which is subject to export control needs a licence. The ECO is responsible for assessing and issuing (or refusing) export licences for a wide range of controlled, so-called “strategic” goods. This includes military and dual-use items.
You can find out more on export controls, including applying for a licence and rating enquiries, licensing policy, key documents, key links, notices for exporters and news related to export control, by visiting the businesslink.gov website at www.businesslink.gov.uk but a good starting place is the Export Control Organisation page over at the BIS website.
Intellectual Property Office
Intellectual property rights can allow you to own things you create, in a similar way to owning physical property. You can control the use of your IP, and use it to gain reward IP rights only give protection in the country where they are registered, so if you are thinking of trading internationally, then you should consider registering your IP rights abroad
The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) can provide guidance: www.intellectual-property.gov.uk
HM Revenue & Customs
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides assistance on a number of matters relating to the importing and exporting of goods. Information and guides are available covering topics such as the classification of goods, the European Union, Relief Procedures on Duty and VAT, Tariffs and Duties, Intrastat and the requirement to submit Supplementary Declarations, together with basic guides on export licences, export taxes, import licences, rates of exchange, etc. www.hmrc.gov.uk
The Business Link website provides the information, advice and support needed to start, maintain and grow a business. It provides information and advice to help customers make the most of their opportunities. Rather than providing all the advice and help itself, it fast-tracks customers to the expert help they need. For small and medium enterprises thinking about exporting there is a simple diagnostic tool that helps you consider whether now is the right time to export. For more information go to the Business Link tool Are You Ready to Export?
One of the other things you’ll needto think about is how to move your goods overseas. Much will depend on the nature of your goods and their destination and you will need to evaluate the best combination of time and cost with the characteristics of your product. There are various methods of shipping goods: by air, road, sea, or rail. Some companies offer multi-modal solutions; this means that they offer more than one service.
For more information about freight forwarding please contact the British International Freight Association at www.bifa.org
Useful export links
Customs & Regulations
- Market Access Database for Tariffs (for non-EU markets only)
- SOLVIT – Overcoming Trade Barriers (EU markets only)