By Max Clarke

UK companies are meeting at a specially targeted SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) CEO forum in London today to consider how SMEs can find export success in China.

“China’s staggering pace of growth is creating a wealth of opportunities for UK firms,” the UK’s Minister for Trade & Investment, Lord Green.

“From high-value infrastructure projects to the growth in demand for low carbon goods and services, UK firms, especially SMEs, are well placed to provide cutting edge expertise.

“Over 99 per cent of the UK’s 4.8 million businesses are SMEs, yet at present, only 20 per cent are exporters. We believe there is scope to increase that figure considerably and that is why UKTI is committed to supporting SMEs in key markets such as China.”

Lord Green is speaking at the SME CEO Forum, alongside China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) Chairman Sir David Brewer and the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming. This is followed by a panel discussion on UK SME commercial engagement, the implications of China’s 12th Five Year Plan and the support that UKTI can provide to companies who want to expand their business in China.

Participating SME CEOs will have the opportunity to discuss opportunities related to sustainable cities, high value opportunities and China’s regional cities.

UKTI International Trade Advisers, CBBC, UK Intellectual Property Office staff and company representatives will offer advice on trade support services, funding sources, tax and legal issues, and intellectual property rights.

“I am delighted to be supporting the UK-China SME CEO Forum,” said CBBC’s chairman, Sir David Brewer. “This key initiative reflects the importance of SMEs to Britain’s economy as well as the emerging opportunities China offers. 99% of British companies are SMEs and in China 99% of companies in the private sector are SMEs too.”

“The opportunities for commercial partnerships between Britain and China are immense. If companies are unable to join us at this key event in London, they should join us in Cambridge, Manchester or Leeds over the coming months where the China-Britain Business Council, with UKTI, will be highlighting opportunities in China.

"Two thirds of our members and much of our daily work at CBBC is supporting SMEs and their strategies in China. We want to hear from SMEs that are serious about exploring China”