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1-2-1 support will help you exploit UK-negotiated free trade deals

13 September 2021

Significant opportunity remains for trade with the EU, but also with the rest of the world; some argue that opportunities are even greater beyond the EU. So, we watch with interest the trade negotiations the UK continues to strike with its global counterparts, as there can be no doubt, trade deals just make life easier!

A huge range of fully-funded support for your business to grow international trade

SHORT CUT: For details of all the support you can get, download the flyer here

Bilateral Trade Deal opportunities

The UK Government is forging ahead with new global deals as an independent trading nation. Always destined to be on the ‘back foot’ as a result of independent negotiations being forbidden until after the Withdrawal Agreement was signed and ratified, we have seen over the recent 19 months, numerous bilateral trade deals signed, some with regions and blocks we have historically traded very little with but also several high-profile ones that are crucial to our global supply chains and exports.

So, what are bilateral trade deals and what are ‘free trade’ deals, sometimes referred to as ‘preferential’ trade deals?  Quite simply they are arrangements struck between two parties to make trade between each party ‘cheaper’. Often you will hear reference to tariffs and quotas; typically free trade deals look to eliminate import tariffs on both sides and reduce the number of goods that attract quotas. A quota allows importers to import a certain amount of goods at a reduced or zero rate of duty until that quota threshold is reached and import duty defaults, typically, to a much higher level. We see this a lot in agricultural goods.

However, trade deals go further than just tariffs and quotas.  They will also look to establish a level of regulatory alignment or at least a mutual recognition of each other’s regulations and standards, so that trade in services and indeed the placing on the market of each other’s goods can be with less friction, easily monitored, and importantly, safer.

So, does there need to be a free trade agreement in place for you to trade with a nation? The answer is no. By and large, we can trade across the globe; it just may be more difficult and more costly where a trade agreement is not in place. This is why the pace at which the UK Government is striking global agreements is encouraging; although it has to be said, it will take some time to replicate the preferential trading landscape we had established as part of the EU trade block.

Brand Great Britain 

The truth is that the world is our oyster and there is significant demand for our products and services overseas. Brand ‘Great Britain’ is still regarded as being synonymous with quality and can, in some regions, even demand a premium. So, whilst UK businesses may be worrying about whether or not there is a trade deal in place, or perhaps lamenting that the cultural or language barriers may be too great and the market a little too risky, other SMEs in other markets are busy carving niches for themselves globally and establishing themselves as preferred international suppliers.

Companies, particularly SMEs, need hands-on support, guidance and funding to recognise their global trade potential. That’s why the Export Department is delivering ‘Empowering SMEs in International Trade’. Whether you are an importer, exporter or both; novice or experienced; from the service or goods sector; it really doesn’t matter, the programme caters for all.

The programme delivers support via dedicated 1:1 sessions, Peer groups, and also an Export Manager Programme that provides up to 30 hours of ‘hands-on’, operational support – essentially a dedicated Export Manager to help boost your export activity. There really is no challenge or opportunity too great to explore in this programme.  The only limitation is your international trade ambition and as that famous phrase says, fortune favours the brave!!!

We have International Trade Clinics giving you 2 hours of 1 on 1 consultancy.

We have Deep Dive sessions which offer you 6 hours of dedicated support.

We also have the Export Manager programme which provides 30 hours of support.

Finally we have our International Trader Peer Support programme – 12 hours of support from your peers, led by a professional facilitator.

To discuss which option is the best one for you, just give the Export Department a call on 01793 493 468 or email on


To register on the International Trader Peer Support programme for Leicestershire businesses starting on 30th September, book via