The Department for International Trade (DIT) is a new department established in 2016 following the EU exit referendum, to be “at the heart of the Government’s independent trade policy following EU exit”.
In 2019 the UK exported goods and services worth £698.6bn. Overall, the UK is the 6th largest exporter in the world, behind China, the United States, Germany, Japan and France, but is the second-largest exporter in the world of services.
The NAO report on the Department, Government support for UK exporters, published 15 July 2020, which examines government’s progress and performance in supporting UK exports, finds DIT has made a good start in developing a strategy and the operating arrangements it needs to support export growth, and the UK Export Finance agency has expanded its offer of export finance to support UK businesses while remaining within the financial limits and controls it is set by HM Treasury.
However, both DIT and UKEF face significant challenges and will need to work together to strengthen their approach to ensure that they achieve value for money over time.
It is not clear that DIT is focusing its efforts and resources in the regions and sectors where there are the greatest opportunities to support UK businesses, or that DIT’s work is well linked to the Government’s export strategy “ambition” to raise exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%
The Committee will question senior officials from the Department for International Trade and UK Export Finance. If you have evidence on the issues raised above please submit it here by Thursday 3 September.