Global Business Network: April newsletter


Welcome from BCC's Director General

Welcome to the first edition of our brand-new newsletter.

Our ambition to grow our global footprint and expand our reach and impact on an international scale could not come at a more relevant and opportune time.

The dynamic organisations that make up the Global Business Network are drivers of business and trade, and effective providers of local expertise, products and services. They also offer practical on-the-ground support, helping members to overcome barriers and grasp opportunities so communities can thrive.

Together, we provide a bridge between policy-makers, British businesses and overseas companies with British trade and business interests. Together, we can help shape a competitive and business friendly environment that supports two-way trade.

While the long-term relationship between the UK and the EU is still to be clarified, it is the BCC's deeply-held belief that Chambers across the UK and our growing global network will play a pivotal role in ensuring the continued flow of trade and business between European nations and across the world, come what may. Furthermore, at an unsettled time for the global economy and in world politics, the ties that bind our business communities together matter now more than ever.

I look forward to continuing our work, together, to champion business and trade through our unique and special network.

Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

A global driving force for international trade & business

Welcome to our new quarterly newsletter which will serve as a showcase of the Global Business Network - a window into members' services, support for business and ambitions that will provide insight into how counterparts in the UK/ abroad are engaging in the international trade promotion and support services sphere and how you can connect and engage with each other in the future.

Each issue will be regionally themed, with the first focussed on Europe. Our June issue will focus on North & Latin America, September - Asia & Oceania, and December - Africa & Middle East. We aim to include an article from the relevant UK HM Trade Commissioners outlining objectives and ambitions for each region; HM Andrew Mitchell CMG being the first. You may have also noticed that we have already released a video interview with HM Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jo Crellin earlier to coincide with the DIT's regional roadshow across the UK.

We are pleased to feature British Chambers in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Germany and a smattering of Chambers in the UK; Birmingham, Manchester, East Lancashire & Edinburgh - as a starting point in this first issue. We would welcome articles from the UK network alongside our colleagues from Latin America for the next issue, so if you would like your chamber to be featured, please do get in touch. Our aim is to showcase as many Chambers in the network as possible throughout each year.

We plan to set up a BCC Global group on LinkedIn, as we have on Twitter, and will release a series of articles about each featured Chamber from issues throughout the year on this platform too. Our aim is to increase awareness of the value that Chambers bring to business and to encourage greater engagement from them into British Chambers both in the UK and across the world.

Finally, we take this opportunity to welcome our newest member to the Global Business Network, the British Chamber of Commerce in Kenya, whose CEO is Farida Abbas. If you would like to connect with Farida, please contact us and we will put you in touch.

Anne-Marie is Director of the BCC Global Business Network

To contact Anne-Marie, please email [email protected]

Growing Britain’s trade with the European Continent

Andrew Mitchell CMG, HM’s Trade Commissioner for Europe

As Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Europe, my responsibility is to grow Britain’s trade with the 43 countries on the continent of Europe.

Britain exports some £300BN of goods and services to the continent annually and Europe is the source of 49.6% of inward investment to the UK. Our trade with Europe grew 10% in the year to 2017 and European import market will increase by some 30% over the next five years. The German market alone will grow by 35%. By any measure, European markets are important for growth and prosperity in the UK.

This is particularly the case since we know that companies that export are on average more profitable and resilient. This is one of the reasons why the UK Export Strategy aims to help grow UK exports to some 35% of GDP.

Of course, it is companies and not governments that export. But we can help. The Department for International Trade has some 350 staff in 32 teams around Europe working to help British exporters and encourage new investment into the UK. Our aim is to help British businesses to find markets and growth overseas.

Whether you need advice on market opportunities, connections to buyers or support navigating potential barriers to market entry, DIT in Europe can help. Because Europe is the most frequent market of choice for companies new to export, we will shortly introduce a new, one-stop Europe Trade Hub to make your journey to us simpler still.

We work closely with partners in supporting UK exports. The BCC Global Business Network is one such partner. Together we have connections spanning the globe and we share a single ambition; “to help British businesses to find new markets and new opportunities as we extend UK exporting excellence, in Europe and beyond.”

Andrew Mitchell CMG was appointed as HM’s Trade Commissioner for Europe in March 2018, having formally served as British Ambassador to Sweden. His role is to grow the UK’s trading relationship with the EU27 as well as promote trade with 15 other countries non-EU European markets.

A region steeped in manufacturing history, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce located in the centre of the UK ideally situated to cover all markets

The region is steeped in manufacturing history, being the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce being one of the oldest Chambers, founded in 1813.

The manufacturing industry is still significant, with companies such as JLR and Mondelez (Cadbury) based in Birmingham, as well as other important sectors such as health and life sciences; the British Medical Association was founded in nearby Worcester.

Furthermore, benefitting from education and training services and world-renowned universities within the city such as Aston University, University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and University College Birmingham.

Financial, professional and technology services are also well represented.

The Chamber helps its members and businesses to grow by providing a one-stop-shop for all importers and exporters, from established businesses to those who are considering trading internationally for the first time.

As well as being able to tap into the expertise of International Trade Advisers, businesses can seek assistance with export documentation, market information, language and translation services and foreign currency exchange. The Chamber also provides an extensive programme of events and seminars, as well as organising market visits and exhibitions overseas.

The Chamber regularly engages with High Commissions and overseas Chambers, as well as facilitating bi-lateral trade opportunities for local firms through the Greater Birmingham Transatlantic Chamber, Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber and the International Business Hub. International Trade Advisers and International Programme teams promote investment opportunities and exporting as part of The Chamber’s DIT and EEN contract delivery.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce has played a leading role in helping businesses prepare for Brexit – whatever the scenario. The Chamber has introduced several practical tools to aid businesses, including a free online business ‘health check’, a series of clinics and training courses, and a variety of literature to help cut through the jargon surrounding Brexit.

To find out more about the work that The Chamber is doing internationally, please contact Mandy Haque [email protected], the International Business Hub Development Director at Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

The British Bulgarian Business Association is working hard to provide support to British and Bulgarian companies trading internationally

The mission of the British Bulgarian Business Association is to promote trade relations between Bulgaria and the UK by providing support to British and Bulgarian companies in both directions. BBBA is a dynamic professional network, which provides a platform to facilitate dialogue and business among its members.

Trade relations between Bulgaria and the UK have been traditionally strong, and bilateral trade has doubled in the past 10 years. The Bulgarian economy has experienced consistent growth and Bulgaria is a strong investment centre with the numerous advantages and business opportunities it has to offer.

The focus of the British Bulgarian Business Association is on developing our trade activities in the UK and the membership in the British Chambers of Commerce as an international Affiliate has been very instrumental in that direction.

In the past months we measured an unprecedented level of participation in various trade events in the UK, including the BBBA UK IT Roadshow in London and Liverpool, the International Festival for Business in Liverpool, the New Year New Markets Forum in Birmingham, the BCC International Trade Summit in London and the Global Food Forum in Cambridge.

We also acknowledge the increase of new members joining BBBA directly from the UK, using the chamber as a key partner in Bulgaria to support them in exploring the market and identifying the right opportunities for their business.

Undoubtedly, Brexit has been a topic we have been following closely to help our members prepare for the possible outcomes. In times of uncertainty, businesses suffer from lack of predictability and insufficient planning. We trust that in the long run Brexit will not harm bilateral trade and Bulgaria will continue to be a trusted trade partner for British businesses.

To find out more about the work of BBBA and connect please contact the Chamber’s Executive Director, Desislava Miteva at [email protected]

East Lancashire, famous for advanced manufacturing & materials, design & engineering

East Lancashire is famous for its advanced manufacturing and materials, design and engineering businesses, feeding into national and global markets for automotive, aerospace and the energy sector. Manufacturing forms almost 25% of direct GDP and almost double that in combination with indirect GDP benefit to the area. Businesses supporting the manufacturing supply chain at every stage of manufacture have relocated to the area from across the globe.

As well as bespoke training and consultancy support and our renowned International Trade Club, we deliver a series of international Expo events throughout the year, most recently the Indian Expo in January, a sell out with 70 + businesses in attendance, with delegations of companies travelling from across India to attend as well as the Consul General of India.

Over the last 5 months the companies across East Lancashire working with The Chamber have exported £139M worth of goods, with the top 5 countries exported to being the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation and Egypt. We have trained 483 local business delegates, supporting their importing and exporting activities.

Bespoke individual support for members includes helping them achieve Authorised Economic Operator status and prepare for the Customs Declaration Service. Assistance to cope with the potential disruptions caused by Brexit comes both through the International Trade Club and The Chamber’s online Brexit Hub.

Recent speakers at the International Trade Club include those from BEIS, the UK government's Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department, providing advice on how goods’ CE marking will be affected and when to use the new UKCA marking, and a host of other speakers tackling potentially thorny topics ranging from contracting with Agents and Distributors overseas to Employment and Immigration legal concerns.

The Brexit Hub section on the website deals with the practical concerns of East Lancashire companies, providing factual support across a range of areas from fulfilling skills needs and tariffs, to intellectual property, incoterms, import VAT and currency risk.

To find out more about how The Chamber can help your business, please contact the team at

Supporting and leading businesses to grow in international markets is of vital importance at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s role now more than ever is to support and lead businesses to grow in international markets. To do so, The Chamber offers a range of services:

  • International events & trade delegation visits both inward and outward
  • Opportunities to meet with an Export Advisor
  • Promotion in The Chamber’s international newsletter & via social media platforms and website.
  • Interviews in ‘Business without Borders’ video series
  • Export documentation services
  • Participation on a dedicated COBCOE Connects B2B digital platform to promote business and access contacts in new markets

The Chamber is working in several priority European markets including Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and Germany. Several events, inward delegations and trade missions to these markets will be organised in the upcoming year.

Due to Brexit, The Chamber has identified some priority markets outside of Europe; China, Canada and the USA which have been of interest to members.

Edinburgh Airport is playing a vital role in supporting international growth for local businesses out of which 21 from the 23 new destinations being international.

The Chamber engages with the BCC Global Business Network and has established connections with other international Chambers such as the Munich Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is a member of the International Chambers of Commerce. These connections are valuable particularly when working in new markets.

To help our members navigate the impact of Brexit, The Chamber has established a Brexit Steering Group that hosts roundtables with the Scottish Brexit Minister, Mike Russell MSP and a few other Brexit preparatory events. Events have been underpinned by a social campaign entitled “Brexit Bites” which highlight the fundamentals of Brexit and signpost companies to relevant sources of information.

To find out more about the work of The Chamber, please connect at

Celebrating 100 years of member support at the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany

The British Chamber of Commerce in Germany is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019.

With over 600 members and 4000 personal contacts the chamber is one of the largest international business networks in Germany, with honorary committees present in 10 regions in Germany and the UK.

The chamber engages with its members and other interested business in supporting membership topics with events and publications as well as services provided by professional members.

There is a growing need for support in times of Brexit and the chamber’s special services and Brexit website pages provide guidance to members and anyone interested in bilateral business and trade. Last year, the chamber’s website page hits reached over 2.9M.

The chamber works closely with the BCC Global Business Network and engages with chambers either in the UK or in Europe, providing guidance in the best way to set up a business in Germany or responding to general trade and market enquiries.

The chamber recently conducted a survey about the consequences of Brexit which has been published on the chamber’s website at the end of March. Overall, the chamber is supporting its members and other businesses to minimize the negative effects of Brexit by directing them to professionals engaged in Brexit matters, e.g. our BCCG Brexit expert groups set up specifically for this purpose.

Unveiling Greater Manchester’s Untapped Export Potential

The UK has approximately USD$161BN’s worth of unrealised export potential. Broken down into sectors as follows: aerospace USD$19.7BN, automotive USD$22BN, chemicals USD$15.6BN, and pharmaceutical USD$22BN, sectors that Greater Manchester and the wider North West region have strong clusters in.As for markets where we still have a large untapped export growth potential, the EU tops the chart, especially Germany with USD$12.6BN, followed by USA at USD$22BN and China with USD£14.1BN.

Whilst most of the region’s export growth is in advanced and developed economies, it is worth considering that in the next 5 years the IMF estimates that global GDP growth will mainly be driven by emerging and developing markets which will contribute as much 65% to the world’s GDP.Recent HMRC regional statistics continue to show that emerging and developing markets such as Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are still largely neglected by British companies.

As chambers of commerce we share a natural connection with our overseas counterparts, and this offers our members an unrivalled connectivity to businesses around the globe. However, we have not been capitalising on this, and this realisation has led Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to run a small pilot on behalf of BCC seeking to reconnect with the Global Business Network by building the internal capacity of UK chambers and implementation of a commercial model from which both UK & overseas chambers could benefit.

The pilot seeks therefore to raise awareness on the business opportunities around the world the chamber hosted partners from Indonesia and Turkey earlier this year, who were able to meet with local companies. The chamber will host delegations from Chile and SE Asia in April and has introduce pre-market entry services helping companies assess their readiness to go global and identify markets with the most potential for international growth to be delivered in-house, aiming to generate quality leads for the Global Business Network to respond to.

The chamber supports its members in preparing for Brexit via a suite of services, training courses, audit and tailored consultancy services and relevant information.

Sources:International Trade Centre, IMF, WTO, HMRC

To get find out more about the chamber, please contact the team at

The British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce is ready and able to support UK companies considering Slovenia and surrounding markets

Slovenia boasts high GDP growth in 2018, a highly educated work force, high level of English proficiency and a strategic position on the Adriatic Sea, which offers the closest route from Central Europe to Asia.

The country is investing in promoting some major projects this year, mainly in infrastructure, energy and defence, with many opportunities for British companies.

There is government support for greenfield investment, especially in high-tech, smart manufacturing and green technologies, and as one of the hottest tourist destinations in 2018, a new route from Heathrow to Ljubljana, there is also room for investment into 5-star tourism.

The British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, a delivery partner of DIT, also awarded Chamber of the Year in 2018 by COBCOE, can help British companies find partners and future business in the whole region of ex-Yugoslavia.

To find out more about the chamber’s services, please get in touch .

Republic of Macedonia’s name change

On 12th February 2019 the Republic of Macedonia’s name was constitutionally changed to “Republic of North Macedonia”.

The North Macedonia Chamber of Commerce has printed new Certificates of Origin with the new constitutional name of the country which chambers of commerce in the UK need to be aware of.

If you have any queries, please contact Mr Jasmin Kahil at the Embassy of the Republic of North Macedonia in London at [email protected]/ tel: 07771 703602.

Please forward this newsletter to your members so that they may find out more about the growing global footprint of the BCC.

Our next issue will be published in June 2019 and will focus on the Latin American & Caribbean region.

To find out more about how your Chamber can get involved in the work of an members benefit from the Global Business Network, please contact Anne-Marie Martin, BCC’s Director of Global Business Networks at [email protected] or on +44 (0)7813 030426