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Driving UK Exports

The Sponsors' Alliance Export Briefing
House of Lords
25th October 2017

About Sponsors' Alliance

Sponsors’ Alliance is an independent, national, multisectorial alliance of member-based, not-for-profit industry trade associations and chambers of commerce, who
engage in export promotion activity. These associations provide export-related services, support and benefits to their members and non-members, and engage in activities such as organising overseas exhibition groups and overseas market visits (trade missions) in conjunction with the Department for International Trade (DIT, formerly UK Trade & Investment). Many members also work with DIT and regional organisations on sector- or regionally-based export promotion activities.

Sponsors’ Alliance members work closely with the DIT on its Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP), which supports UK companies exhibiting at overseas exhibitions. Sponsors’ Alliance members make up nearly half of then active Trade Challenge Partners (TCP) working with the DIT, but organised around 70% of the events in the 2016/17 TAP programme and account for around two thirds of the TAP programme budget. This programme provides huge benefit to industry and delivers vital trade promotion support, as the scheme leverages existing activities by trade organisations in order to deliver a popular and cost effective scheme at very low expense to the taxpayer.

What is TAP?

The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant support, given post event, to encourage SMEs to exhibit in a UK pavilion at an overseas tradeshow. The grant is between £1,500 and £2,500 and goes towards the cost of exhibiting (without staff time costs, flights, hotel accommodation and subsistence) at an overseas tradeshow. Typically a 9sqm stand (space and construction) at an overseas show will cost between £5,000 TCP-organised pavilion and £8,000.

Driving UK Exports

The imperative for the UK to boost exports and rebalance our significant trade deficit is well known. Government schemes that support export growth
are more important now, than at any time in recent history, particularly for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) who need help, encouragement and guidance to make the first meaningful steps towards establishing themselves in overseas markets. For many years successive UK governments have provided financial support to industry to help in this effort. The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) has been the foundation of many UK companies export drive, providing much needed financial support for those companies attending trade fairs overseas.

The UK is in a global race to drive growth, improve productivity and to put the UK back on the road to prosperity. To achieve this goal we must recognise the importance of exports and provide an environment that supports industry to take advantage of the huge opportunity presented in foreign markets for the benefit of the UK economy. To make this happen, we need government to champion

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