Minister for Exports Mike Freer launched the inaugural International Trade Week at Fazeley Studios in Deritend, Birmingham on Monday.
Throughout the week, more than 100 events and workshops are planned, hosted by the Department for International Trade and businesses all over the UK to support and encourage businesses to explore their expansion into international markets.
As well as International Trade Week, the minister launched a new “Made in the UK, Sold to the World” campaign with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street. The campaign will champion local export success stories and promote opportunities in international markets to take advantage of the global demand for the high-quality goods the UK is known for.
More than 6.5 million jobs in the UK are supported by exports and research shows that exporters pay higher wages, are on average 21 per cent more productive, and tend to be more resilient, innovative, and profitable.
Mr Freer said: “It was a privilege attending the headline event of International Trade Week in Birmingham."
"Historically, the West Midlands has been known as the ‘workshop of the world’, and for good reason. In 2019, it exported £24.6 billion worth of goods and 22,000 businesses exported goods and services.
“It is my hope that the launch of our new “Made in the UK, Sold to the World” campaign, alongside the events we help to facilitate during International Trade Week, will encourage businesses in Birmingham, and across the UK, to export globally. In doing so, we can level-up the country and build back better from Covid-19," he added.
The minister spoke to key business figures from different industries across the Midlands and the UK to highlight the importance of, and opportunities for, exporting. This included screenwriter and film director Steven Knight, creator of the Peaky Blinders TV series.
Mr Knight said: “I was delighted to be a guest speaker at International Trade Week and hear about the Made in the UK, Sold to the World campaign.
“Peaky Blinders has been a huge success in adding to UK exports, alongside the inward investment opportunities for Birmingham with the proposed Digbeth studio development.
“The high-end TV and film market has seen record growth and investment with a combined spend of £5.9bn over the last 12 months. This is set to continue and create fabulous opportunities for the whole of the UK.”