The BSIA, the trade association for the private security industry in the UK, is pushing ahead with its promise to promote private security exports into the new year. Our 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 from UK suppliers. For many BSIA members, exporting was a lifeline during the recession, helping to keep businesses afloat. International markets such as the Middle East have thrived during the economic downturn, enabling members to grow and prosper through exporting. In a recent survey of the BSIA’s Export Council, more than 80% of respondents agreed that exporting had become more important to their businesses during the recession, with many going further to report an increase in overseas business between 2012 and 2013.
The BSIA’s Export Council serves as a forum for relationships between the UK’s security industry and overseas buyers to be founded and cultivated, and acts as an invaluable port of call for overseas-based contacts interested in developing a relationship with the a UK company as a partner, customer or distributor. Exporting remains pivotal for UK security companies and BSIA networking initiatives and events continue to establish and reinforce such links.
According to UKTI’s security export strategy, the global security market is forecast to rise to £571 billion in 2016 through 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 market past the 9% target. This positive outlook is reinforced by experiences of BSIA members who export, with more than 90% expecting their overseas business to increase during 2014/15. UKTI figures also estimate that UK security exporters now enjoy a 4.2% share of the global market for security products and services which is also projected to grow in line with projected growth for the global security market.
One of the most significant markets for our members is the Middle East, recognising that the region has a fast-growing economy and a strong reputation for British goods and services, thus giving BSIA members a head start when it comes to exporting, when compared with other global competitors. Chair of the Export Council Ian Moore stated “The Middle East has probably been the most attractive overseas security market over the last few years. It is a natural target area for quality British companies”.
To emphasise the value of the Middle East to our members, BSIA Chief Executive James Kelly will soon be meeting with the First Secretary of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in London to discuss how our members can make the most of this emerging market and promote the BSIA at a higher level within the UAE. Mr Kelly said “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. The Middle East is continuing to grow as a leading market for our members to export too and it is important that that is recognised at the appropriate levels of government, both at home and abroad”.
For those members of the BSIA who are new to exporting, or it isn’t yet a major part of their business, the BSIA assists with TAP (Tradeshow Access Programme) funding. TAP funding provides grants for eligible businesses to attend overseas tradeshows. Although not a huge amount of money, it helps members gain crucial market knowledge, build experience of trade shows and get 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 had a reduction in funding. The BSIA is pressing the case with key Parliamentarians to ensure that TAP funding continues for SME’s as so many of the BSIA’s members have benefitted from this.
At a recent meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, Karen Bradley MP, with whom responsibility for security exports lies, James Kelly pressed the importance of TAP funding to our members and to the wider UK economy. Mr Kelly stated “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. It goes completely against the government’s strategy to be cutting this funding at such a crucial time for our businesses and we will continue to push this message to all levels of government”.
Tobias Ellwood MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who has Ministerial responsibility for the Middle East, recently represented the UK at the 12th annual UK-UAE Taskforce. The Taskforce, first established in July 2010 following visits of the Prime Minister David Cameron to the UAE and Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, UAE Foreign Minister, aims to further strengthen ties between the two countries.
As such, the BSIA is looking to meet with Mr Ellwood at his earliest convenience to discuss the value of the Middle East to the UK private security industry. At the recent Taskforce meeting Mr Ellwood stated “The UK and the UAE enjoy a close partnership based on deep historical links and shared interests. I am pleased that we are able to agree to strengthen our partnerships across investment”.
For more information on the BSIA’s Export Council please visit our website where you will find further details: http://www.bsia.co.uk/export-council/about-bsia-export-council