By Marcus Leach

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the promotion of export services to manufacturing and engineering companies across the UK.

The agreement, which lasts for three years, is aimed at working together on initiatives and practical support for companies to boost UK exports, especially to emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Recent survey evidence from EEF showed 90% of manufacturers are involved in exporting and, that for two fifths of companies, exports now account for over half their turnover. With the prospect of faster growing markets overseas and the significant growth of international trade, companies are looking for every opportunity to boost their activities overseas.

However, obtaining a foothold in new markets can requite significant investment and commitment and, for many, expert information and guidance can smooth the path to new export orders. Some of the joint activities where EEF and UKTI will pool their expertise will include:

- Seminars to promote peer learning via case studies of exporting to emerging markets with UKTI overseas experts from overseas.

- Promotion of programmes of specific UKTI activities suitable for manufacturing and engineering companies.

- The promotion of Awards for exporting as part of the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards.

- Dedicated areas on the EEF and UKTI websites to offer support on exporting.

- Promotion of best practice case studies and regular joint speaking opportunities.

“Exports are the lifeblood of UK manufacturing and, with the prospects for international trade remaining very positive, it is vital for our economic prospects that we take every opportunity to boost our performance," EEF Chief Executive Terry Scuoler, said.

“By combing the expertise of UKTI with EEF’s access to market, companies will be set fair to reap the benefits of the unique expertise to which they will gain access.”

Susan Haird, the acting chief executive of UK Trade & Investment, said:

“Working with organisations such as the EEF is really vital for UKTI. We want to work with partners to help get the message through to as many companies as possible about the benefits of exporting.

“I am delighted that the EEF shares our ambitions. Manufacturers that export can achieve a level of growth that would not otherwise be possible; exporting can also help companies develop new products and services. I hope UKTI and the EEF working together can help more companies become more successful abroad.”

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