News story

Further support announced to help British companies compete on the global stage

The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Strategy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) seven-point Charter demonstrate the Government’s dedication…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Strategy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) seven-point Charter demonstrate the Government’s dedication to supporting international business, championing UK business overseas and attracting investors to the country.

They form a core plank of the Government’s Plan for Growth, and recognise the fact that a new focus on business is needed if the UK is to remain economically competitive in the years to come.

The strategy will see UKTI adopt a more entrepreneurial approach to deliver growth. As part of this UKTI will actively seek out overseas investors, help UK companies expand into overseas markets and work more closely with key British companies. Examples of this approach include:

  • Establishing a new private sector delivery partner with the incentive to attract and retain high value investments.
  • Expanding the Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) to win more investment to the UK.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“We’re rightly proud of British firms and making sure they can increase their exports to a worldwide audience is vital if we are to rebuild our economy. We also know the UK already has a great reputation as a place to do business and we want to do all we can to make sure foreign investors come here.

“Today, we’re announcing practical help for UK companies to ensure they win business overseas. And we’re setting out how we will actively attract inward investment to the UK with ambitious plans to target sovereign wealth funds and expand the global entrepreneur programme.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“The Charter for Business is part of our commitment to inject a new commercialism into the Foreign Office, using our international influence to help British businesses secure new trade opportunities.

“We will work tirelessly to champion UK business abroad and to help attract investment to the UK.

“Businesses will be able to capitalise on the FCO’s in-depth local expertise to identify and exploit opportunities. Ministers will continue to build the strong bilateral political relationships needed to help business thrive, as well as working to influence trade policy internationally.

“Together with the Trade and Investment Strategy, the Charter marks an important step in delivering commercial diplomacy and sets out a clear vision for how the government will deliver growth and prosperity for the UK.”

The documents launched today reinforce the Government’s desire to place the nation’s commercial interests at the heart of its foreign policy. Both were developed in consultation with industry leaders and signal that Britain is, and remains, ‘open for business’. __

Trade and Investment for Growth, a White Paper published in February, set out the Government’s plans to rebalance the economy through an ambitious framework for trade and investment. UKTI’s Strategy and FCO’s Charter are the next step in this process.

The Government is now looking in more detail at how it works with businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and what action can be taken to make this more effective.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said:

“The Strategy we have developed builds on our successes to date but this is not business as usual by any means.

“As UKTI seeks to become more entrepreneurial, it will bring more private sector expertise into its relationship with exporters and inward investors and develop new partnerships with key businesses which support SMEs.

“Our plans will ensure that UKTI is well equipped to face the demands of the future, listening to the concerns of businesses so that we have an economic climate that benefits us all.”

The UKTI Strategy signals how the Department intends to become more entrepreneurial in focus by:

  • Bringing more private sector expertise into its relationship with exporters and inward investors
  • Developing new partnerships with key businesses which support SMEs, and using their networks to raise awareness of the benefits of exporting.
  • Creating a new online self-help community for UK SME exporters, so that they can support each other and share experience as they seek to internationalise their businesses. This new development will also provide a continuous feedback loop so that customers can tell us what they think of UKTI.
  • Establishing a new Strategy Task Force, with members drawn from the most innovative UK-based companies, to inform the future direction of both UKTI and ECGD,

These actions will help to develop new ways of relating to businesses, with a renewed focus on partnerships with the private sector to boost productivity and improve performance.

The FCO Charter will focus on using FCO resources to meet the needs of British business. It is part of the FCO’s work to drive lasting prosperity for the UK, setting out the specific contribution that the FCO will make to support business across the world. Embassies and High Commissions overseas will continue to champion the UK as an excellent place to invest and do business.

The FCO Charter, together with UKTI’s Strategy, will be available to UK businesses from today to demonstrate the support available to them and where they can access this to boost their work internationally.

Industry Quotes

_David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: _


“Britain’s recovery and long-term economic prosperity depend on improving our international trading position, and so we welcome these measures to put trade, investment and growth at the heart of UK foreign policy. Alongside attracting inward investment, UK companies, particularly small and medium-sized firms, must be encouraged to sell more goods and services overseas. The focus on trade promotion for SMEs will be crucial in to connecting smaller businesses with opportunities in the global marketplace.”

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomes the strategy from UKTI and seven point charter from the FCO as they address many of the issues that small businesses face when exporting and will go some way to encouraging new firms to enter the export arena. Almost a quarter of FSB members currently export, and a further 12 per cent would consider exporting in the future. For many small firms, the challenges of finding customers and the red tape around doing business abroad is a major concern and today’s announcement will help small businesses lead an export led recovery.”

Trade and Investment fact file

  • Companies tell UKTI that its support to exporters has helped them generate £6 billion of profit for the UK economy. This additional profit has helped generate more than 126,000 jobs in the UK.
  • Last year, UKTI played a role in securing 759 investment projects, nearly half of the national total. These projects helped generate more than 40,000 jobs.
  • For every £1 spent, UKTI generates £22 for the UK economy.
  • In October 2010, UKTI was named as the best Trade Promotion Organisation in the Developed World.
  • Ninety per cent of UKTI’s customers are small and medium-sized businesses.
  • UKTI has a network that extends to almost 100 overseas markets, which generate 98% of world GDP. It also has a presence in the UK regions and online at [](

Media Contact:

UK Trade & Investment - Sophie Benger on 020 7215 8547 or email

Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK media - Su Crown on 020 7008 6862 or email

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - Lucy Michael Sutton on 020 7215 5977 or email**

Notes to editors:

  1. The UKTI Strategy and FCO Charter are available online at:

  2. The Trade and Investment White Paper is available online at:

  3. The Government’s Plan for Growth, the first part of the ongoing Growth Review, was published at the Budget. The plan, setting out the detailed actions across government, can be found at:

4.** UK Trade & Investment (UKTI)** is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy - acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.

For more information visit: ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
  1. **The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) **works hard to promote and protect Britain’s interests around the world and run a global network of offices (Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates) in more than 170 countries. We have aligned our activities, financial resources and staff to focus on those things that matter most to Britain and the British people and where we can make the biggest difference. We regularly measure our performance against these priorities. This includes building Britain’s prosperity by increasing trade and investment, opening markets, ensuring access to resources, and promoting sustainable global growth, helping over two million British nationals abroad every year and funding the BBC World Service, British Council, Wilton Park conference centre and scholarship programmes.

  2. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See []( for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Published 10 May 2011