By Daniel Hunter

The Business Secretary is in Russia today (Monday) on a trade visit with over 30 British companies to boost the fast growing economic links between the two countries.

Between 2009 and 2012, exports of goods and services to Russia have grown by over 75 per cent from £4.3 billion to £7.6 billion.

Vince Cable’s visit is part of Export Week which will be the biggest ever with 5,000 businesses expected to take part in events across the country. The week forms part of the Government’s work to raise the number of UK firms that export from a fifth to a quarter.

A new national campaign, Exporting is GREAT, will also start today targeting almost 3 million people to generate 3,000 appointments with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Advisers and drive £1.2 billion in export revenue.

With businesses earning £100,000 on average in additional sales within 18 months of working with UKTI, there is significant growth potential for individual companies.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “British small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Many are doing incredible things and selling their services and products abroad. But too many do not realise their global potential.

“I am in Russia this week launching the biggest ever drive to encourage SMEs to export - Exporting is GREAT. This campaign will help us reach the many businesses across the country that are ready to export and grow but have yet to take the plunge.

“This can be a big step for many businesses and the government's expert international trade advisors will guide companies every step of the way, with practical advice and support to find international customers.

“This week I am joined in Moscow by a delegation of over 30 fantastic British businesses across construction, manufacturing and retail sectors. British exports to Russia have almost tripled in the last ten years, with around 600 UK companies currently operating in the country. The opportunities here are huge for British business - that's why we're also investing in a $50m fund to help British small businesses export to Russia."

The business delegation accompanying Vince Cable to Moscow will be made up of 31 UK companies from a range of sectors, including many small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

Many of these SMEs have benefited from London 2012 such as Populus, Snoozebox, Turner and Townsend, and Wembley Stadium Consultancy, and will now be targeting opportunities around the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018.

New trade deals announced during Vince Cable’s visit to Russia include:

- UK Export Finance will sign a deal with Alfa Bank to set up a $50 million line of credit for UK SMEs to export to Russia. This will help provide medium term loans on favourable terms to Russian buyers of UK SME export contracts.

- UKTI is setting up an investment operation in Russia, which will operate across 10 cities from this month. This program will run for 18 months to build an investor base and sustainable investment pipeline to the UK.

- Liverpool Vision is signing an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Russians around the promotion of regions for business. They expect a Russian delegation will attend their International Festival for Business in 2014.

- AFSL has just completed the first stage of the contract to design a 45,000 seat stadium for Kuban Fc in the city of Krasnodar. The stadium will be the home to Kuban Fc, and will be capable of hosting FIFA events.

- Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), is signing an MOU with the Financial University of the Russian Federation to promote practical activities around professional business qualifications between the two institutions.

- The Energy Services & Technology Association (ESTA) will be signing an MOU to share best practice in energy management with Russia’s national association of energy auditors.

Speaking at the launch event for Exporting is GREAT in Birmingham, Trade & Investment Minister Lord Green said: “The Made in Britain brand is sought after across the world and many UK businesses are already taking advantage of this but we want more to follow.

“Through Export Week and the Exporting is GREAT campaign we will strengthen the momentum of the Prime Minister’s challenge.

“The UK’s future prosperity will not come from relying on domestic markets alone. Businesses excel with UKTI’s support and we want to make sure that UK firms are not just trading abroad but thriving there and competing with the best the rest of the world has to offer.”

In addition to the regional events held across the country a UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) roadshow will visit eight regions and feature more than 130 UKTI experts who will share their exporting experiences with companies. The roadshow will prepare UK companies to enter the global market, give advice on marketing to international clients and run workshops on the markets with the greatest potential for each region.

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