New support for international traders: Online guide to simplify government regulation

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 - 10:08 GMT Jump to Comments

An online guidance service to help Britain’s 150,000 international traders has been launched by businesslink.gov.uk. It is one of the first examples of the shift of government information to the Business Link website, the government’s primary online information service for business.

The new service, available at www.businesslink.gov.uk/internationaltrade will help traders understand the complexities of international trade, and assist thousands of others realise the benefits of trading with overseas markets. It includes four interactive tools and 55 guides, bringing together government information relating to compliance with international trade in simple to understand language.

This addition to businesslink.gov.uk has been developed by experts from across government and online trading specialists.

The launch of the service coincides with the release of findings from a businesslink.gov.uk survey of almost 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, revealing 40% of respondents find understanding and complying with international legislation one of the biggest barriers to trading internationally.

The research showed that businesses clearly recognise the opportunities offered by foreign markets, with 39% citing access to new customers as the biggest benefit.

A third of respondents said finding all the information in one place would make it easier for them to trade internationally and access new markets.

The four interactive tools assist users through a short series of questions to produce a personalised action plan, saving time and potential cost. The tools are:

What do I need to know to export to my target country?
What are my duty and VAT liabilities when importing or exporting?
Which customs procedures and reliefs can help me trade internationally?
Which Incoterm (International Commercial Contract Term) should I use?

Jonathan Hollow, Head of Content at businesslink.gov.uk, commented: “Selling abroad or bringing goods in from overseas can appear complex. However, we are confident that our website will help small businesses with little or no experience of international trade.”

“This project is in line with the government’s wider objectives to make information more accessible, easier to understand and ultimately help UK businesses save time and money,” he said.

The new service is the first step in the government’s International Trade Single Window project, which is expected to save UK businesses £122 million over five years. It is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and HM Revenue & Customs, and contributed to by organisations such as UK Trade & Investment, the Rural Payments Agency and SITPRO.

Later phases in the International Trade Single Window project will cut administrative burdens for business by including the ability for traders to submit paperwork online and the automatic distribution of key data to the main government departments involved in authorising exports and imports.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Research methodology:
Between 14th December 2006 and 3rd January 2006 Tickbox.net surveyed a nationally representative sample of 943 SME Managers.

Stakeholders involved in developing the service include:
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, HM Revenue & Customs, Department of Trade and Industry, UK Trade & Investment, SITPRO, British Chambers of Commerce, Port Health Authorities, Rural Payments Agency and the Food Standards Authority.

About Business Link

Business Link provides the information, advice and support you need to start, maintain and grow a business.

It exists to help anyone thinking of starting a business; to help small and medium-sized businesses to grow and to help businesses deal with problems, challenges and opportunities. Business Link nationally provided support to over 740,000 businesses in 2005 / 06 and over 550,000 of these were existing businesses.

The Business Link service is delivered through advisers in your local area supported by the national website www.businesslink.gov.uk or by calling 0845 600 9 006.

The national website www.businesslink.gov.uk provides free access to all relevant information, guidance, funding and training from government and the business sector. As one of the leading sites for small business, it has more than 600,000 visits every month from individuals involved in business.

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