The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is pushing ahead with its promise to promote the exporting of UK private security sector solutions into the New Year. The Trade Association’s members provide over 70% of UK security products and services and adhere to strict quality standards.
British security is playing an increasingly important role on the world stage as the global market continues to create new opportunities for ‘Best of British’ products and services designed and developed by UK suppliers.
For many BSIA member companies, exporting was something of a lifeline during the recession as the process helped to keep businesses afloat. International markets such as the Middle East have thrived during the economic downturn, in turn enabling the Trade Association’s members to grow and prosper through the exporting of goods and services.
In a recent survey of the BSIA’s Export Council members, more than 80% of respondents agreed that exporting became more important to their businesses during the recession. Indeed, many reported an increase in overseas business between 2012 and 2013.
The BSIA’s Export Council serves as a forum for developing business relationships between companies in the UK’s security industry and overseas buyers. It also acts as an invaluable port of call for overseas-based contacts interested in developing a working relationship with a UK company (or companies) either as a partner, customer or distributor. Exporting remains pivotal for UK security companies and the BSIA’s networking initiatives and events continue to establish and reinforce such links.
Government pledge on UK security exports
According to UKTI’s security export strategy, the worth of the global security market is forecast to reach £571 billion in 2016 through a projected growth of 9%. The Government has pledged to double overall UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 which can only help push projected growth in the global security marketplace past that 9% target. This positive outlook is reinforced by the experiences of BSIA members who export, with more than 90% expecting their overseas business to increase during 2014-2015.
UKTI figures also estimate that UK security exporters now enjoy a 4.2% share of the global market for security products and services, a share which is also forecast to increase in line with projected growth for the global security market.
The Middle East boasts a fast-growing economy and a strong reputation for procuring British goods and services, thus giving BSIA members a head start when it comes to exporting. BSIA Export Council chairman Ian Moore stated: “Over the last few years, the Middle East has probably been the most attractive overseas security market for UK providers. It’s a natural target area for quality British companies.”
Emphasising the value of the Middle East to the Trade Association’s members, BSIA CEO James Kelly will soon be meeting with the First Secretary of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in London to discuss how those members can make the most of this emerging market while also promoting the BSIA at a higher level within the UAE.
“I look forward to meeting with the First Secretary to promote bilateral trade between BSIA members in the UK and businesses, customers and distributors in the UAE,” explained Kelly. “The Middle East is continuing to grow as a leading export market for our members, and it’s important that fact is recognised at the appropriate levels of Government, both here at home and abroad.”
For those members of the BSIA who are new to exporting, or for whom the process isn’t yet a major part of their business, the BSIA assists with TAP (Trade Show Access Programme) funding. Such funding provides grants for eligible businesses to attend overseas trade shows. Although not a huge amount of money, this financing helps members gain crucial market knowledge, build experience of trade shows and glean invaluable advice and support from trade experts. Two thirds of BSIA members who exhibited abroad in 2013 took advantage of TAP funding.
It was recently discovered that UKTI’s ‘Passport to Export’ service has suffered from a reduction in funding. The BSIA is pressing the case with key Parliamentarians to ensure that TAP funding continues for SMEs as so many of the BSIA’s members have derived direct benefits from this.
Importance of TAP funding
At a recent meeting with Karen Bradley MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office with responsibility for security exports), James Kelly pressed the importance of TAP funding for BSIA members and, indeed, the wider UK economy.
“This Government has committed itself to doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 and has stated that exporting is a way out of these austere times,” asserted Kelly. “It goes completely against the Government’s strategy to be cutting this funding at such a crucial time for our businesses. We will continue to push this message to all levels of Government.”
Tobias Ellwood MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with ministerial responsibility for the Middle East) recently represented the UK at the 12th Annual UK-UAE Task Force. First established back in July 2010 following Prime Minister David Cameron visiting the UAE and meeting with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nayhan (the UAE’s Foreign Minister), the Task Force aims to further strengthen ties between the two countries. As such, the BSIA is looking to meet with Ellwood at the MP’s earliest convenience to discuss the value of the Middle East to the UK private security industry.
At the recent Task Force meeting, Ellwood stated: “The UK and the UAE enjoy a close partnership based on deep historical links and shared interests. I’m pleased that we are able to agree to strengthen our partnerships across the sphere of investment.”
*For more information on the BSIA’s Export Council visit: http://www.bsia.co.uk/export-council/about-bsia-export-council