Department for International Trade
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Statement on the UK-U.S. SME Dialogues – Edinburgh (29-30 November 2022)

Statement follows the sixth meeting of the UK-U.S. SME Dialogues in Edinburgh, Scotland (30 November 2022).

On 29 November, 50 UK and U.S. small and medium sized businesses and business organisations attended the 6th UK-U.S. SME Dialogue in Edinburgh.

The UK-U.S. SME Dialogue brings together small and medium businesses on both sides of the Atlantic with UK and U.S. government officials to identify ways to strengthen cooperation and support companies from both countries to find new export opportunities in each other’s markets. It reflects the ongoing commitment from both countries to supporting and enhancing UK-U.S. SME trade.

During the Dialogue, a series of panel discussions covered opportunities for SMEs looking to grow through UK-U.S. trade and explored the particular challenges faced by SMEs exporting to either country. Attendees discussed the importance of using digital tools to reduce paperwork and streamline trading practices for SMEs, reducing costs and complexities for smaller firms expanding into new markets. Participants also discussed information and support available online for firms exporting for the first time – to make the trading journey simpler – as well as the specific challenges faced by women-owned SMEs.

Drawing on these stakeholder discussions, UK and U.S. officials held bilateral government discussions after the SME dialogue on 30 November. They agreed to a series of actions over the coming months to ensure that feedback from stakeholders translates into practical outcomes for SMEs. Over the next six months, the two governments agreed to:

  • improve information and support for SMEs looking to trade in the UK and U.S, including by updating and enhancing toolkits for SME exporters,
  • convene UK and U.S. government officials for expert-level discussions on digital trade and customs and trade facilitation to consider inputs from SMEs and identify opportunities for deeper cooperation on digital issues and paperless trading.

The next SME Dialogue is planned to take place in the U.S. in 2023, as an opportunity to take stock of progress on the above actions and further build on these discussions.

The UK also announced a North America Roadshow which will take place between 27 February - 10 March 2023 in over ten cities across the UK. The Roadshow will offer insights into the export opportunities that the U.S. and Canada offer and inspiration to UK SMEs considering how to grow and strengthen their companies through international trade.


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