Our country's historic wealth came from our ability to export goods around the world. Today many British businesses are deeply concerned about the levels of commercial assistance from British Embassies. All too often Commercial attachés are inexperienced with little or no high level commercial pedigree. Many do not have adequate resources to support the numbers of British businesses looking for their help. They have too few high-ranking business contacts and in some cases lack motivation to help British businesses cut through local red tape.
I am currently writing a report which I intend to present to David Cameron and William Hague on the situation. We are taking evidence from high-ranking British Chief Executives and Export Directors about their experiences of trying to get assistance, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
The report will show just how small our total exports are to some key strategic countries and demonstrate the lost opportunities. It will then go on to recommend what needs to be done to change the situation so that Embassies around the world are matching their French and German counterparts resource for resource and helping British businesses to export on comparable levels to France and Germany.
With the right staff in British Embassies and the right resources our country could easily be exporting tens of billions of pounds more than we currently are, gaining the hard currency which will be vital to our country in these difficult times. Increasing the calibre and size of Commercial attaché support will cost the State a tiny fraction of what we will get back from additional export revenues. I hope that my report will also be able to demonstrate the need to recruit highly experienced retired businessmen who have successfully exported to assist us in this task.
If any reader has their own evidence of trying to get assistance from an Embassy to help them export I would be grateful if they could email me with their experiences.