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LGA - Councils support local businesses to take advantage of international trade opportunities
The report, which was commissioned by the LGA and produced by Value Adage with support from the Department of International Trade, finds that nearly 6.5 million jobs in the UK are reliant on our ability to export abroad, with firms in London and the south east having the highest number of export-supported jobs.
Many businesses look to their local authority for advice around arrangements for exporting of goods and services, as well as advice about the present regulatory framework.
Councils have an important role to play in supporting a greater volume of exports from small and medium sized businesses and are being encouraged to use their infrastructure connections, such as local ports, freeports and airports and to work with their local communities to leverage existing international links and support businesses to take advantage of opportunities available to them.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is sharing good practice and advice to support local authorities to produce internationalisation strategies, which will help councils to work with LEPs and other business groups to map potential inward investment and exporting opportunities in their local area.
For example, in Sunderland, the City Council developed strong economic ties with its twin cities in France and Germany as well as the promoting of inward investment with major employers in Japan and the USA. In Kent, the council was one of a number of organisations who set up Kent International Business, a group which works with local businesses to identify international trade options and promotes and coordinates local export services.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chair of the LGA’s People and Places Board said:
“Councils have long played a significant role supporting firms to export and are well placed to bring together businesses to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
“As the UK embarks on a new chapter as an independent trading nation, it is clear that there will be new markets and new opportunities for export. It is important that councils are in a position to help businesses transition to this new context.
“This guide will help local authorities to build connections and work with partners domestically and internationally to help support greater exports and create jobs in their local communities.
“Councils stand ready to work with the government as an important partner to build back better and level up the country, including supporting local businesses to increase exports.”
Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart MP said:
“It's great to see so many jobs across the UK supported by our exporting prowess. With this government committed to driving growth and exports in every corner of the UK, I’m delighted that the Local Government Association is encouraging councils to help businesses take advantage of international trading opportunities.
"The Department for International Trade will continue to open markets through trade deals but also has teams at home and in 119 other countries ready to help businesses take advantage of the new opportunities we are creating. Exports lead to more and better paying jobs and, with the help of local councils, we are determined to see these benefits reach every part of the UK".
The LGA’s report ‘Councils' role in supporting the exports industry’ can be found on its website.
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