Partner Events


As a business already engaged with the Department for International Trade's support, we wanted to alert you to a series of upcoming events, hosted by the UK Export Academy (covering November 2022). 

Sign up for free and you will have access to a calendar of events to support your export strategy, from the fundamentals of international trade to specific sector masterclasses, we have a session for every step of your export journey.

All you have to do is register for an account and select your preferred sessions.  We’re adding new events all the time, so keep checking back to see the latest.

What's the UK Export Academy?

The UK Export Academy is a free training programme for UK businesses looking to grow their international sales. Brought to you by expert speakers, these export workshops are delivered through a hybrid of online and face-to-face learning. 

Join hundreds of businesses like yours as we explore the benefits and challenges of trading outside of the UK.

Explore the full events calendar here.

What's coming up from the UK Export Academy?

Go Global with Amazon! - Wednesday, 30th November - 14:00-15:00

You want to start selling outside of the UK via e-commerce but don't know where to start?  Join this session to learn more about selling on Amazon and the countries and regions where they can help you to start selling.

6 Steps to Optimise Your Website for Overseas Audiences -Thursday, 1st December - 14:00-16:00

During this webinar we will be sharing 6 steps to optimise your website for overseas audiences.  You will also learn how to create a road map that will give you clear next steps and action points to make your website more appealing and functional for international customers.

To book any of these events and to see more, visit the UK Export Academy Upcoming Events page here.


Discover events in your area

International Trade Week 2022 will be hosting 30+ in-person events across the UK, with content exploring the unique challenges and growth opportunities for exports from your local area. 

Highlights include:

  • Export Academy LIVE!
  • Green Trade and Investment Expo
  • Growing your Agri-Tech Business – Does your business have what it takes to take flight?
  • Protecting your Brand in Overseas Markets
  • DIT Education Day
  • DIT Global Entrepreneur Programme: Inform, Inspire, Connect - Going Global Masterclass

Explore in-person events near you.

Get in-person export support

Ahead of attending events during International Trade Week you can:

  • Get in-person export support
  • Get advice from our Export Support Service
  • Arrange to talk to one of our expert International Trade Advisers (ITAs)

Some events will have ITAs speaking or attending for one-to-one meetings.  Check the descriptions for details and how to join.

Find information on exporting opportunities here.

Contact the Export Support Service here.


Masterclasses, workshops and conferences to drive your business forward digitally.

All Masterclasses can be viewed here.


Wednesday, 23rd November (12:00-12:45) - 8 Steps to Reduce Your Trading & Energy Costs

While there isn’t much any of us can do about increasing prices, there are things you can do to reduce your costs to support your business goals.

As part of our free six-week #CostOfTradingCampaign webinar campaign, Andrew Moon, Head of Business Development at Swoop Funding, will talk you through the 8 Steps to Reduce Your Trading & Energy Costs.

Sign up and start taking smart, decisive action through the #CostOfTradingCrisis.  The following FIVE online meetings start on Wednesday, 23rd November through to Friday, 16th December 2023 - the full list can be found here.

Don’t worry if you can’t attend live.  Register and we'll send you the recording.

To speak to us about the event or a specific challenge, give us a call (03301 247 305), email or book an appointment.


Wednesday, 7th December (9:00-16:00) - Our next big event is Digital Drive Live

Only 1 week to go until our final Conference of 2022!  And you don't have to brave the cold weather to join us as we are bringing the event to you virtually! 

Grab a cup of tea and a slice of Christmas Cake and join us for the best virtual event you will attend this year!  Register your place today . . . you can join us for an hour or take in a full day, whatever works for you. 

Digital Marketing expert and global keynote speaker Pascal Fintoni will host this special event and will be joined on our virtual stage by a range of keynote speakers including, Issy Roughan (Howell Film), Sue Thompson (Catch Design), Norma Foster (Norma Foster Ltd). Matt Wiles (Infoserve), and Jonny Ross (Fleek Marketing), 

Whether you want to be motivated, learn new skills, grab a slice of inspiration, or learn from the experts - Digital Drive LIVE will do all of this and more.

Why attend Digital Drive LIVE?:

  • Discover new ways to connect with customers
  • Increase your sales by discovering the secrets to social media success
  • Create videos/vlogs to engage your audience
  • Reach new customers through perfecting your LinkedIn activity
  • Increase your brand exposure through your Google Business Profile
  • Plan for success by defining your 2022/23 Digital Marketing Strategy

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Click here to see the full agenda and to book your place.


Tuesday, 13th December (10:00-12:00) - Short-form Video Content: the key to your marketing success

If you are not sure how to create short-form videos that generate engagement and results in your business then this online event is for you.

Short-form video is now King.  The growing popularity of short-form video content on social media platforms have redefined the way we consume video content.  When it comes to your video marketing less is now more.

According to HubSpot’s recent survey on 2022 marketing trends, short-form video has the highest return on investment, so it’s increasingly becoming an important part of every business’s content marketing strategy.

If you are not sure how to create short-form videos that generate engagement and results in your business then this webinar is for you.  During this session, Leah will show you how to incorporate short-form video successfully into your social media marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why short-form video for businesses
  • The different platforms for short-form video
  • Planning your short-form video marketing strategy
  • Easy video content ideas
  • How to plan and batch create your video content
  • What makes a video engaging
  • How to optimise your video content for more reach and views
  • How to create short-form videos that convert
  • How to leverage trends, keywords and hashtags
  • How to repurpose your videos across multiple platforms
  • Equipment and tools for creating and repurposing your video content
  • Key metrics to analyse the success of your videos

Book your place now!


Thursday, 15th December - How to raise your game on LinkedIn and Win New Business

A really great LinkedIn profile can make all the difference between winning that sale or not and so we’ve created this workshop for you to achieve that.  Norma Foster helps busy professionals like you get inspired and create a LinkedIn profile and approach that delivers results for you.

Book now.


Tuesday, 17th January 2023 - DDCD - Introduction to the world of Wix (online event).  Presented by Steven Parker

There is a wide selection of self-serve DIY website platforms to choose from.  In this entry-level session, we will take time to have an introductory demo of one of the most popular platforms.

We will look at what is and isn’t possible with free and paid-for versions.  Showcasing what is possible as well as how to use them. We'll be building a website from scratch and demonstrate how to select the designs, upload photos, videos, and web copy.

So if you've never used Wix before, then now is the time to start!

Register now.


Tuesday, 31st January 2023 (9:30-16:30) - Smartphone Video and Video Strategy Workshop

Venue: Raddison Blu, Frankland Lane, Durham, DH1 5TA

Presented by Ryan Mulhern

In this collaborative and creative workshop, you will learn how you can bring a winning video strategy to your business.  You will leave the event with the knowledge of how to capture and edit video content that will resonate with your target audience.

What is it?
A full-day masterclass on how to use your smartphone to create engaging video content. In this collaborative and creative workshop, you will learn how you can bring a winning video strategy to your business.  You will leave the event with the knowledge of how to capture and edit video content that will resonate with your target audience.

Who is it for?
Those in the business who are responsible for content creation and marketing, whether that is the owner, team leader or marketing professional.

Why should you attend?
To raise your profile online - From advertising a product or service, boosting engagement with customers, or expanding their reach on social media, video content marketing is adaptable, accessible, and can give you a powerful lead over your competition when done right.

To make things easier - being strategic and learning how to use the most practical smartphone apps to capture, edit and post content will enable you to make video content an enjoyable part of your marketing toolkit.

Register here.


Digital Drive County Durham, UMi Commercial Limited, Spectrum 6, Spectrum Business Park, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 7TT

Telephone: 0191 716 0960

If you have any questions about these events, you can also contact us at


Please keeping checking back to this page as new events are released throughout 2022.

Register for the DABS Programme here.


Thursday, 1st December 2022 (15:00-18:00) - Financial Planning

An overview on sales forecasting, cashflow planning and what you need to think about to help plan your financials.  Templates can be provided and this is a safe space where you can talk about your finances, sales forecasting and more importantly how this will impact your cash-flow.

If you want us to review your forecasts and support with where it can be improved, then please come along.  You may not have started this yet, again no problem we would be delighted to provide a template and offer guidance on how to get started or answer any questions if you are part way through your financial planning.

This event is delivered online using Zoom.

To participate in this workshop you must be eligible for the DABS programme.  Please register here.


Monday, 5th & Tuesday 6th December 2022 (9:30-13:30 on both days) - Customer Analytics for Growth

We will help you create an understanding of the POWER OF DATA, analytics and artificial intelligence and how this can really drive growth in your business.  This will give you the foundations for cultivating an analytics-based mind-set and help you to explore ways to embed this across your organisation.

Please note that this is a series of two half-day workshops with the first session taking place on 5th December and the second on 6th December(9.30am – 1.30pm) All events are held online using Zoom.

To participate in these workshops you must be eligible for the DABS programme.  Please register here.


Wednesday, 7th December 2022 (15:00-18:00) - Social Media Strategies

Do you need help with your email marketing?  Then join us online on 7th December to hear from Jonny Ross on Email Marketing - Turning Contacts into Sales as part of Digital Drive Live!  Aimed at giving you the best practices and turning your contacts into sales, this session will focus more on the strategy and tips that make your emails land in inboxes, get opened, and more so get clicked!

Learn how to get your emails opened, clicked on and kept out of spam!


  • Email Basics
  • Email Best Practices
  • Technical Considerations
  • Building your audience
  • Killer subject lines
  • Visually strong design
  • Landing pages
  • Tracking/Measuring ROI
  • Examples​

This event is delivered online using Zoom.

To participate in this event you must be eligible for the DABS programme. Please register here.


Thursday, 15th December 2022 (15:00-18:00) - Wrapping up DABS with Live Q&A

As the DABS programme comes to a close, we welcome you to join us for an online peer to peer session, network with other likeminded individuals and businesses, some you have worked alongside on other DABS sessions or some new faces to work with going forward.

This is an opportunity to share best practice and ask questions to help you grow and scale your business.  A number of our DABS advisers will attend this session, it is an excellent opportunity to canvas a range of business expertise in one place or we can break off into rooms online for 1-2-1 questions and support. It would be great to see you on this session to provide support to continue your business plans.

This event is delivered online using Zoom.

To participate in this workshop you must be eligible for the DABS programme.  Please register here.



The North East Business Support Fund provides funding for one person from an eligible businesses to attend these Masterclasses.  Please do not send more than one application per company for any Masterclass session.

To be eligible for Masterclasses on this application form, your business must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The business must be trading
  • The business must be an SME
  • The business must be based in County Durham

Your application for the workshops requires some basic financial information about your business as well as details of previous grant funding.

Please check that you have the required information to hand before you begin and if not, please return to the home page and come back to the form when you have gathered the information you need.

Your application form cannot be saved, once you have started to complete the form, please do not navigate away from the page, other than by clicking the ‘Submit Application’ button below.

Which Bitesize Business sessions are you interested in?

  • Digital Marketing 101 - 7th December 2022 (09:30-12:30)
  • Find your Customers - Research & Profiling - 31st January 2023 (09:30-12:30)
  • Bringing a Smile to your Customer Experience - 28th February 2023 - (09:30-12:30)
  • Brand & Deliver - bringing branding alive in your business - 14th March - (09:30-12:30)
  • Your Sales Toolbox - 21st March - (09:30-12:30)

Visit the application form here.  Please read the instructions very carefully and collect together the appropriate material in order to complete the application form.


Grant support now available for smaller innovation projects

With challenging times faced by us all and economic conditions starting to bite, investment in innovation may be starting to slip down the list of priorities.

To help ensure businesses continue to invest in simple techniques that could support innovation during these challenging economic times, the North of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant has now reduced its MINIMUM project spend for equipment to £5,000 and minimum spend on innovation projects using external expertise now at £8,000.

Funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, these changes have been made to encourage and maintain investment demonstrating the region’s commitment to support organisations that are keen to invest in innovation ensuring easier access for more businesses.

This Grant programme takes a broad view of Innovation focusing on projects that are new-to-company as well as those that are new-to-market and could provide up to 50% grant funding on eligible projects.

Equipment Grants - minimum project spend now £5,000

Examples of new-to-company equipment purchases where a grant may be awarded include:

  • New IT equipment to help the business adapt to new working practices (e.g. POS equipment) 
  • Production machinery to enable a new product to be brought to market
  • Software purchases to help the business work more efficiently
  • CRM purchases to enable the business to operate more efficiently 

External Expertise Grants - minimum project spend now £8,000

Grant Funds are also currently available to pay for external expertise to help introduce new-to-company technologies or processes and/or develop or launch new-to-market products or services.

Examples of projects include:

  • Develop new work practices and processes to help the business operate more efficiently 
  • Process improvement, change management or quality management system development
  • Product development – Consultancy or Design support to launch new/improved products
  • Marketing Strategy Consultancy or website development to bring a new product or service to market  (replacement or upgrade websites cannot be funded)

Please note: the programme cannot fund business as usual costs or the replacement/upgrade of existing equipment - full eligibility criteria can be found by clicking here - and we cannot provide additional funding to businesses who have already accessed support from the NTIRG programme in the past 18 months.

Our application process is simple, quick and straight-forward and if you have a project in mind but aren’t sure whether it would be eligible for a grant, we can help talk you through your ideas.

Full details of the North of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant, including the Application Form download, are available on the dedicated fund website by clicking here (North of Tyne - Innovation Recovery Grant).


Businesses urged to Act Now to claim vital grant funding

Only a few months remain for firms to utilise the North East Business Support Fund.

Businesses are being urged to submit growth-based grant applications, as the deadline for a much-used fund approaches.

For over a decade, the North East Business Support Fund has provided a protective shield for business owners, helping SMEs de-risk investment in growth.

The fund’s success has been staggering, supporting nearly 5,000 SME businesses with over £9.1m in grants distributed across the region.

Grants are still available – subject to eligibility criteria - but only if businesses ACT NOW as Fund deadlines now loom – scheduled to finish in March 2023.  Focus remains on supporting the B2B sector however growth is also important to demonstrate to increase application success.

The programme will continue to offer grants for business improvement projects that use External Expertise and the financial support will remain the same:

County Durham businesses can access up to 40% of Grant Funding for projects costing between £2,500 and £8,000 with Northumberland and Tyne & Wear businesses accessing up to 35% funding for projects costing between £3,000 and £8,000.

Please note that this Fund continues to be an extension to the North East Business Support Fund and therefore are unable to provide funding to businesses who have already accessed support from the programme - this includes:

  • Businesses who have received a Grant from the North East Business Support Fund since February 2018.
  • Businesses in Northumberland or Tyne and Wear who have received a Covid Response (SME restart and Recovery / Kick-starting Tourism) Grant.

NBSL business support manager, John King, said: “The success of the North East Business Support Fund has been incredible and we are working hard to maximise the opportunity this grant offers to SMES across the region.  This tranche of funding must be allocated before the end of March 2023 and we want to see every penny spent on helping our regional business community evolve.

“NBSL prides itself in taking the hassle out of grant applications and are proud to be an ally to the North East’s plethora of exciting SMEs, champing at the bit to realise their potential.”

To ACT NOW and take advantage of the final months of the North East Business Support Fund, visit the fund website here or contact the experienced grant management team at NBSL on 01670 813 322 or contact us at




Discover the opportunities big sporting events can bring to your business

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is excited to be a partner in this year’s Rugby League World Cup.  You can be part of the action and get inspired as the women, men and wheelchair tournaments get underway throughout October and November.

Major sporting tournaments like the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC)  bring great international opportunities for UK businesses. So, DIT is thrilled to be partnering with this tournament and launching a programme of events that coincide with the three competitions. We have been inspired by dedication, motivation and drive of the teams participating in the women’s, wheelchair and men’s tournaments, and recognise those attributes can help UK businesses to build a global business and accelerate sales growth.

With the majority of fixtures being hosted in Northern towns and cities, we will be welcoming nations from across the globe, many of which have strong historical ties with the UK.  As we continue to pave our way as an independent nation through negotiating Free Trade Agreement, we are pleased to bring this global competition to your doorstep and provide you with opportunity to take advantage of the heightened exposure of the North.

Our programme of events will highlight opportunities in international markets and sporting events, inspire female business owners and drive innovation in sports technology, whether you are a small or large enterprise, we will have something for you.

For further information, please click here.


The Secretary of State has announced that International Trade Week (ITW), the government’s largest trade and export-focussed event of the year, is returning, from Monday, 31st October until Friday, 4th November 2022.

  • 100 online and in-person events and workshops
  • Industry-led activities designed to help your business grow, presented virtually and in-person nationwide
  • Learn from experts in international trade, parliamentarians, ministers and more

Following the success of ITW 2021, which saw more than 3,000 businesses take their first steps on their exporting journeys, registration has now been opened for businesses to sign up to attend International Trade Week 2022.

With four key themes guiding this year’s week-long programme, you will:

  • Discover how to trade internationally or expand your global footprint.
  • Be empowered to find new global markets through Free Trade Agreement (FTA) updates and market overview sessions.
  • Discover key investment opportunities with our focussed Green Trade & Investment content.Understand the UK’s place in trade as a force for good. Discover and access a full breadth of support available for female, black, Asian, minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ owned business.
  • Events covering four key themes:
    • Top tips - how to trade internationally or expand your global footprint
    • Free trade agreement opportunities - discover the right new markets for your business
    • Green trade and investment - the latest key opportunities
    • UK trade as a force for good - discover the support available for female, black, Asian, minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ owned businesses.

Sign up to reach international audiences here.

When you subscribe we will use your personal details to notify you when event registrations open for International Trade Week 2022.  For more information about how DIT processes your personal data please seen our privacy notice.

Register here.  There are also roadshows around the UK and partner events which you can register directly for.  View all events here.


Supercharge your export journey
Designed to connect you with export experts, giving you the insight and inspiration to make your business a global success story. In just one day, you can . . .

  1. Visit the Main Stage to hear from some of the brightest export minds, including a keynote address from a well-known business personality
  2. Dive into the Workshop Zone to get a taster of Export Academy support including mini workshops on hot export topics
  3. Navigate the Market Zone to meet representatives from North America, South Asia & Europe
  4. Find local support in the Growth Zone. Meet with advisers from DIT plus a range of business growth organisations
  5. Grab a coffee, meet with like-minded businesses and build your connections in the Networking Zone

With so much going on, our team of Export Academy Advisers will also be on hand to help you to make the most out of the day.

Make lasting connections
Throughout the day you will have the opportunity to meet 1:1 with a range of export experts including overseas colleagues from key markets, Export Academy Advisers, Specialist Advisers, and wider DIT support including colleagues from the Export Support Service, UK Tradeshow Programme, UK Export Finance and many more.

How to get involved
After signing up for Export Academy Live you will be automatically enrolled to the networking platform and will receive details of how to activate your profile within 24 hours.

In addition to networking, this platform can be used to keep up to date with the agendas and speakers for each venue.  Sign up here and get ready to make lasting connections. 

How to register
If you want the tools and support to provide your brand, business, team, and self with the best chance of overseas success, then this is the event for you.

Follow this link to view the agenda.  We expect demand to be high for these events so please register as soon as possible to secure your place.

If you have any questions about these events, please get in touch with us at


Join us on Friday, 11th November for our two hour webinar on Developing a Winning Go To Market Strategy (10:00-12:00). 

During the webinar we will explore the key components of a go to market strategy and how bioscience startups and scaleups can leverage marketing to influence complex B2B buying cycles.  A go to market strategy is a step by step plan that outlines how you will successfully launch your product or service to market, or launch an existing product/service in a new market.

We will explore:

  • How to approach positioning and messaging
  • How to identify and segment your target audience to focus your efforts on best-fit customers
  • How to identify and decide upon marketing activities that will influence each stage of the buying cycle
  • How to develop KPIs that align sales and marketing efforts

About our Workshop Leader

Bethan is the founder of Open Velocity, a strategic marketing consultancy based in York.

Formerly Marketing Director of a leading technology consultancy and a senior manager in the cloud computing industry, Bethan’s 12 year career has been built at the intersection between marketing and technology.

Register your free place here.


Taking smart, decisive action is your best route through the #CostOfTradingCrisis.

Since our survey a few weeks ago, we've been designing support specific to the challenges you've told us you're facing.

So, starting next week alongside our partners, we’re launching a FREE SIX-WEEK WEBINAR SERIES to help you:

  • Build Business Resilience
  • Stress Test Your Performance
  • Reduce Your Trading Costs
  • Minimise Energy Consumption
  • Maximise Your Income
  • Prepare Continuity Plans
  • Negotiate Better Deals
  • Retain Your Talent
  • Anticipate Business Recovery

Sign up and select which of the webinars you would like to attend.  Full details of the online events and how to book, can be found here.

Don’t worry if you can’t attend live. Register and we'll send you the recordings.

To speak to us about these events or a specific challenge, give us a call (0330 1247 305), email us ( or book an appointment.


DATE & TIME: Wednesday, 30th November 2022 - 17:00-20:00

VENUE: Tuspark, 27 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JE

The Department of International Trade North East is inviting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Business Owners to an Export For Business Growth Workshop.  The event will give you the opportunity to find out about the support services and funding available to help you to scale and grow your business through international trade.

Ethnic minority entrepreneurs are major contributors to the UK’s economy generating £25bn annually.  The Department for International Trade has a track record of successfully supporting businesses.  This event marks the launch of our Diaspora Global Festival programme of activities, dedicated to recognising and supporting ethnic minority business owners in order to open up opportunities for scaling up business growth through exporting.

You are welcome to join this ‘Export for Business Growth Workshop’ whether you are:

  • A beginner exporter, and want to find out more about starting your international trade business
  • A more experienced exporter, and want to scale-up or explore more markets worldwide

We aim to help you to succeed!

The workshop will help you to find out about the range of export support services and funding to help you to build the knowledge, skills, and confidence that you need to succeed.  You will also be able to ask questions, meet staff and make important contacts both in the UK and abroad to help you to take your business to the next level.  You are also welcome to come along to network with like-minded ethnic minority business owners interested in sharing international links.

This event aims to be inclusive and so business owners from all ethnic minority communities in the North East are welcome.  Light refreshments will be served.

Register here.


DATE & TIME: Thursday, 1st December 2022 - 14:30-16:30


The Department for International Trade (DIT) is delighted to invite businesses based in the North of England and the Midlands to a free webinar, designed to explore your potential in the US market.

As a key player in the world economy, the US is a leading market for companies considering expanding into international territories.

For those businesses that are looking to grow their existing footprint, make new acquisitions or set up new operations in the US it is crucial that businesses plan appropriately so no unexpected delays, taxes or fines are experienced during the process. 

To help businesses understand the key elements to consider when looking at expanding into the American market, the Department for International Trade, in collaboration with Blue Link Worldwide Inc. will be focusing on three major US cities in this two-hour webinar.

Join us for a detailed overview of Detroit, Philadelphia, and Tampa, covering the key considerations and business opportunities available.  We will be joined by experts from both the US and the UK, as well as case study speakers, who will share their real-life experiences of doing business within this market.

For full agenda and to book, please click here.


Get support from DIT to attend or exhibit at selected trade shows this year. Applications are now open for events running up until February 2023. 

Tradeshows are a great way to grow sales and develop networks.  The Department for International Trade (DIT) is supporting businesses like yours to attend or exhibit at selected tradeshows.  Help offered includes specialised training and possible grants to cover costs.

Find out more and apply here.

Application deadlines for selected shows in your industry

  • Events with support for exhibitors
    • Paris Fashion Week - Women's (Spring) 2023 - 7th December 2022
    • Cosmoprof 2023 - 28th December 2022
  • Events with support for attendees
    • Premiere Vision - 30th November 2022
    • Ambiente - 30th November 2022
    • Paris Fashion Week - Women's (Spring) 2023 - 28th December 2022
    • Cosmoprof 2023 - 17th January 2023

Find out more and apply here.


DATE & TIME: Monday, 5th December 2022 - 15:30-17:30

Businesses from across the North East LEP area (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Sunderland) are invited to join the inaugural meeting of the North East LEP-USA Business Group.  The group has been formed to help local businesses take advantage of the trade and investment opportunities with our biggest trading partner, the USA.  

Some aspects of international trade are largely the same, irrespective of the markets involved, but some challenges and opportunities are unique, depending on the countries concerned.  To that end, we want to bring together as many businesses as we can from the North East LEP area who are already exporting or trading successfully with the USA and also invite businesses who are new to the USA market or who would like to be.  We hope this will become a local network that meets regularly and enables the sharing of ideas, contacts and information about trading with the USA.

Businesses from all sectors, of any size and export experience, are welcome to join our first meeting.  The event is designed to bring together companies based in the North East LEP that have a common interest in the USA, from both a trade and investment perspective and provide the opportunity to share best practice and experiences.  We hope that by creating a regular opportunity for like-minded businesses to get together we can harness the power and experience of the collective, to complement the support and assistance that is available from public bodies.

During the meeting, you will hear from businesses that have enjoyed export success in the USA and about the initiatives aimed at helping you access the market for the first time or increase your current business there.

Numbers will be limited so please register early to not miss out on the opportunity to hear from and meet with like-minded businesses to help explore your potential of doing business in the USA.

Eligibility Criteria: To attend, businesses must be based in the North East LEP area and have an exportable product or service, with an interest in doing business with the US – either through trade or investment.

Closing Date for Registrations: Wednesday 30th November 2022

Register your interest here.


DATE & TIME: Tuesday, 6th December 2022 - 10:00-12:00

Do you have an ambition to grow your business?  Are you unsure if exporting is for you?

Join the Department for International Trade North East for a FREE workshop & find out what you can do to make your business 'export-ready'.

Who’s it for?
This workshop is for anyone who:

  • Has an ambition to grow their business
  • Wants to plan the next steps into exporting as part of an overall business growth strategy
  • Is unsure what exporting might involve, but wants to understand the risks and implications to resources; the expertise, time and skills needed before going any further

Why join?

Whether you are unsure if selling overseas is right for your business, or are considering exporting for the first time, this session will provide:

  • Guidance on how to research and identify new overseas customers
  • An understanding of the resources, knowledge and skills you will need to successfully export
  • A guide on how to improve your business’ export fitness
  • Signposting to other DIT resources or organisations

Join us on Tuesday, 6th December, 2022 at North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) and explore your export potential!

To book your place, click here.


DATE: Wednesday, 7th December 2022

VENUE: The Studio, Riverside West, Whitehall Road, Leeds, LS1 4AW

The Department for International Trade is bringing together Commercial Officers from the trade departments of the British Embassies in Copenhagen, Geneva, New York and Barbados to meet UK businesses interested in exploring UN and Multi-Lateral Development Bank procurement opportunities.


The global humanitarian and development sector provides real commercial opportunities for many UK companies to win overseas business from worldwide aid funded agency programmes.

There are opportunities across a wide range of sectors including:

  • Medical and Pharmaceutical
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Power Generation
  • Laboratory Equipment
  • Food and Beverages
  • Shelter and Basic Domestic Supplies
  • Logistics
  • Security Equipment and Services
  • Corporate Training
  • Specialised Consultancies

How to register

There’s a limited number of meetings available so register your interest in attending today.

Each meeting is for a duration of 25 minutes and you can request meetings with as many of the Commercial Officers as you wish.

Click on this link to access our dedicated booking portal for the roadshow, allowing you to request free, one-to-one meetings with our Commercial Officers at any of the locations mentioned.

For any other export related enquiries please visit the Department for International Trade at or call our Export Support Service on 0300 303 8955.


Taking Place Twice a Month until February 2023

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, H.M. Government is committed to secure free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries covering 80% of UK trade within 3 years.  This event aims to provide you with an overview of the key features and benefits these  agreements offer.

Sign up here.


Join us for our Business Drop In Clinic - opportunity to network with five business support programmes.

DATE & TIME: Thursday, 15th December 2022 - 13:00–16:00

VENUE: The Old Brewery Business Centre, The Old Brewery Business Centre, Castle Eden, TS27 4SU

Business Drop In Clinics are where business can book 30-minute discussion offering free and impartial advice for County Durham businesses to help overcome barriers to growth and discover opportunities.

These events are going to be held a number of business centres through out the East Durham area with the with events taking place at Lighthouse View Spectrum Business Park Seaham, East Durham Business Centre Station Town, Manor House Business Centre Sedgefield and the Old brewery Business centre, Castle Eden.

By booking a place it provides a great opportunity to understand what support is available from five experienced business advisors from:

  • Business Durham (Guy Bashford)
  • NBSL (Jonathan Barnes)
  • Department for International Trade (Paul Sparks & Hollie Lawson)
  • North East Funds (Andrew Gibson)
  • Digital Drive Programme (Lee Wilson)

The advisor offer businesses free and impartial advice to help business address barriers to growth placed on them through Covid, BREXIT and any other issues as well as suggestions of how to take advantage of opportunities.

This is a session is aimed at County Durham based businesses big and small reach their full potential.  The sessions are perfect for businesses that haven’t taken up support before with a short conversation to find out what support best suits their needs in a time effective manner.

For further details contact or book a place here and we will see you there.


DATES: Wednesday, 8th to Friday, 10th February 2023

VENUEHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam

DIT Vietnam in partnership with HealthcareUK are excited to announce a trade mission to HCMC, Vietnam to visit the market and to explore collaboration opportunities in clinical services and medical education & training.  British healthcare innovators in Clinical Services and E&T who are well prepared to scale up outside the UK, for a post-Covid world, are invited to join the mission to Vietnam.  This is an excellent opportunity to present UK innovation in healthcare, to explore business collaborations and to develop contacts with key stakeholders from the Vietnamese healthcare industry.

Deadline for expressions of interest: Thursday, 15th December.

Register your interest here.


DATES: Tuesday, 14th - Saturday, 18th February 2023

VENUESDelhi, Mumbai, Bangalore

Healthcare UK, part of the Department for International Trade (DIT), is hosting a Digital Health Trade mission to India in February 2023. This will be our eighth trade mission event to India, building on the success of trade delegations visiting India over the last seven years. We invite the best of British healthcare innovators in Digital Health who are well prepared to scale up outside the UK, for a post-Covid world, to join our mission to India.  This is an excellent opportunity to present UK innovation in Healthcare, and to explore business collaborations and develop contacts with key stakeholders from the Indian healthcare industry.

Express your interest here.


DATES: Monday, 20th - Friday, 24th February 2023

VENUE: Dubai World Trade Centre: UAE

The biggest food and drink exhibition in the Middle East, Gulfood is the place to introduce your flavours to the world.  The Department for International Trade (DIT), invites British companies in the food and drink sector to join them on an overseas trade mission to Gulfood Dubai in February 2023.  An event ideal for promoting established brands, if you are an experienced exporter this will be a high value opportunity to meet existing clients and find new ones.

Register your interest here.


DATE: Tuesday, 7th March 2023

The British Embassy Brussels is organising a pitching event, focused on everything tech which gives UK companies the opportunity to present their solutions to business executives, city representatives and federations from Belgium to explore a better future for societies.

Apply by Thursday, 1st December 2022.


Eligible businesses can use the fund to support areas including (but not limited to):

  • Market research
  • IP advice
  • Translation services
  • International social media/SEO
  • Trade fairs (where no TAP funding is available)
  • Independent market visits
  • Consultancy and other international commercial services

Apply before the end of December 2022.

Click here to find out more and apply today.


North East Traders and Free Trade Agreements

As a key part of the UK's future trade strategy, the Department for International Trade (DIT) aims to ensure that business awareness of the UK's new and upcoming Free Trade Agreements is as high as possible.  This short survey will help guide the Department's understanding and future work on Free Trade Agreements.

Eligible businesses who respond to the survey will have the opportunity to receive FREE follow up advice and support.  A member of our Free Trade Agreements team will arrange a 30 minute call to discuss how FTAs may affect your businesses exporting processes.


An update on the North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) extension . . . we have now made it easier and simpler to access one of the region’s most popular Grant Fund through our new NEBSF website.

Our new website for this Fund is

We’re now contacting all our partners and provider network to ensure clear understanding of the support we can provide and have attached our updated logo for your use across any material that refers to the North East Business Support Fund.  Please let me know if you require anything further.

I’ve also taken the liberty of attaching a briefing note, along with social media statements that I would be grateful if you could share across your own networks to ensure we reach as many businesses as possible.

As a brief reminder of our North East Business Support Fund, please see below.

The programme will offer Grants for Business Improvement Projects that use External Expertise and the financial support will remain the same:

County Durham businesses:

Northumberland or Tyne & Wear:

The business must be an SME with:

  • fewer than 250 full time equivalent employees
  • an Annual Turnover not exceeding € 50 Million and Balance Sheet value not exceeding €43 Million
  • credible plans to grow / recover from the impact of Covid (staff or turnover)

It may be worth noting that as this is an extension to the North East Business Support Fund, we are unable to provide funding to businesses who have already accessed support from the programme - this includes:

  • Businesses who have received a full Grant from the North East Business Support Fund between February 2018 to December 2020
  • Businesses in Northumberland or Tyne and Wear who have received a Covid Response (SME restart and Recovery / Kick-starting Tourism) Grant. County Durham businesses are not impacted by this restriction

If you have any queries or questions relating to the above - please let me know and as always - thanks for your continued support,

Kind regards

Sara Williams -


Did you know that around half a million older people in the UK go at least five or six days without seeing or speaking to anyone at all?

The team at Silver Talk want to change this.  But to do it, they need your help!

They’re on the lookout for new friends on the phone volunteers to join the team and help bring companionship and a listening ear to one of their service users, through a 30-minute social telephone chat once a week.

For as little as 45 minutes a week, you could really change someone’s life.

You will be provided with a mobile phone to make the calls.

Full training is given to make sure you’re confident dealing with any situation that may arise.

Karbon will cover the cost of a DBS check which can come in useful in other areas of life.

Interested?  You can apply here, where you can also find a full volunteer role description.

Alternatively, you can reach the team either by email or by calling 0191 223 8662.


Digital Drive Grant Funding

Funding is up to 40% contribution.

Minimum spend is £2,500 excl. VAT.

We have no maximum project cap, however the maximum grant we could award would be £9,999.

Funding can be used for the following:

  • Digital consultancy: this can be any ‘one-off’ outside expertise relating to digital technology e.g. social media strategy, internet telephony, integration of systems, automation of back office systems, search engine optimisation etc.
  • Digital Equipment: Must be new to the business and help improve your own use of digital technology e.g. for remote working, increase efficiency, entering new markets/diversifying services etc.  We cannot fund basic office kit out, or buying more of the same item (e.g. for a new member of staff).
  • Website/software/apps: Building a website for those who don’t have one, adding new functionality, e-commerce (maintenance, basic design improvements, hosting and ongoing costs are ineligible). Software must be a one-off purchase to be eligible/owned outright by the business. We are unable to pay for ongoing subscriptions or yearly licences.
  • Broadband installation and equipment/improvements (excludes monthly subscriptions, building work/street works).

Anyone wishing to make an application needs to register their interest here.

If they are already registered, they can just email or contact Lee Wilson on 0191 716 0960 or email:


The Durham Business Recovery Grant is a £5million fund to help County Durham businesses to recover from the effects of Covid-19.

Who can apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant

Eligible businesses are those businesses able to demonstrate that they:

  • have a significant operational base, but less than 250 employees in County Durham
  • were established before 11 March 2020
  • are set up for profit and registered to pay tax on profit (in any format, eg sole trader, limited company)
  • use a business bank account (separating personal and business finance)
  • can demonstrate a significant adverse impact from Covid-19
  • can demonstrate solvency
  • can outline a credible and costed recovery plan
  • can fund their share of the recovery plan

Social enterprises (for example, community interest companies) are eligible provided they meet the above and can demonstrate that they generate 51% or more of their sales from commercial activity (excluding income from donations, grants and contracts not won through a competitive process).

Who cannot apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant

The following are not eligible to apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant:

  • registered charities
  • organisations set up to provide:
    • local social welfare and community facilities, for example hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, fire stations, child-minding facilities, sports clubs and societies, parks, public libraries
    • housing rental as part of an investment portfolio
    • public services or activities to supplement public services, for example social housing or school age education.
  • businesses whose activities may bring the council's name or reputation into disrepute

If you're not eligible, North East Growth Hub's list of finance and funding provides a list of grants available, or see Business Durham Covid-19 business support brochure.

How to apply

Before you apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant, please read the essential information - Durham Business Recovery Grant - essential information to help you prepare your application.  The quality of your application will reflect the decision turnaround time of the application process.

Apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant online


CLLD uses structural funds from Europe to provide support to projects which will increase employment and skills and social enterprise.  There are two programmes operating within specific areas of County Durham. Click the links below to find out more.

  • North Durham CLLD covers areas Chester-le-Street, Pelton Fell, Whitehills and Pelton, Sacriston, South Stanley, Craghead around the outskirts of Annfield Plain and Harelaw.  Current calls are:
    • North ESF - open call
    • North ERDF non-capital - open call (with extended delivery time to December 2022)
    • North ERDF capital - currently closed
    • South Durham CLLD covers Bishop Auckland, Coundon, Leeholme, Shildon, Spennymoor, St Helen Auckland and West Auckland
    • South ERDF non-capital call - now open and delivery time has been extended until Dec 2022
    • South ESF - currently closed.


There is updated funding & support from DIT available for exhibiting or visiting selected Trade Shows, this is separate, and in addition to the current grant funding we have available.

Attached is a presentation for your information (DIT UK Tradeshow Programme Promotional Toolkit).

Also attached is a spreadsheet of events, these could change, so there is also an online version which can be found here (UK Tradeshow Programme supported events - July 2022 to March 2023).

To find out more, check eligibility and make an application, please visit here.

For further enquiries, the DIT trade show team can be contacted via


B2C E-Commerce: Global Fast Track Programme (16/02/2021 - 08/04/2021).  DIT North East are offering a fully funded in-depth virtual training programme, delivered by e-Commerce and digital specialists, and designed to help you fast track your international growth.  This programme aims to help you assess each area of your business performance and create an action plan for 2021 and beyond. The introductory webinar will be followed by a seven-week programme, click here for further information.

DIT North East would like your input in shaping our 2021/22 virtual events and webinar programme We’re asking North East businesses which topics they feel would be most beneficial to maximise export potential. Have your say with our short survey here.

Royal Mail are designing a “Delivered Duties Paid” (DDP) service that takes care of VAT and customs duties for EU buyers prior to delivery, this fulfilment solution means you don’t need to register in each EU country to be able to sell goods including all duties, ideal for shopify or ecommerce sellers, potentially launching Feb/March, find our more by clicking here here (this link also has a good explanation of the current VAT process and changes due in July).

HMRC are running Exporting Webinars.  The webinar explains what actions you need to take to export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, key export processes, border controls, zero-rated VAT, customs declaration, using an intermediary as well as licences, certificates and authorisations that you’ll need.  Please click here for further details an to reserve your place.

Rules of Origin: Check your goods comply to trade tariff-free with the EU.  Many of the queries we are getting at DIT are about the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU which includes important changes for Rules of Origin.  Put simply, this is where a product was manufactured and determines the “economic nationality” of goods (think of it as a birth certificate for the goods).  You can trade with the EU without paying tariffs, but only if a product meets the relevant rules.  Check for details on how to claim preferential (zero) tariffs, and see the documentation you’ll need to complete. Also, read the full guidance on meeting Rules of Origin when trading with the EU.

DIT Internationalisation Fund – Grants up to £9k per business - Available now until early 2023 - 50% to 60% grants to be used for exporting advice from third party private sector experts /consultants to help prepare for international trade, which may include: market research, market selection and entry advice, advice on Intellectual Property Rights, cross cultural negotiation support and standards, translation and cultural advice, international trade legal advice, PR support, international social media and search engine optimisation, international marketing, routes to market/agency advice, overseas business environment, and due diligence.  Participation in Trade Fairs, Trade Missions and independent market development visits etc.  The application process is a discussion about proposed activities, then if suitable an export action plan is completed, then an online application link, it is then assessed and administered by a third party organisation on behalf of DIT.  Only one application can be submitted, but can include multiple activities.

Social Media – A big thank you to Paul for supplying us with this very useful information.  You can reach Paul on his LinkedIn page and/or his Twitter feed - he regularly post updates on DIT opportunities, exporting issues and support from other business organisations across the North East.

Further national and local DIT events can be found here.


Growth plans on hold due to spiralling business costs?

With all manner of operating costs on the rise, it’s crucial that businesses use any opportunity to maintain efficiency and ensure growth plans remain on track.

If you're investing in new processes, products or technology, take a look at just some of the ways we can support you.

North East Business Support Fund

Operating across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and Durham, this Fund can help towards the cost of projects that help improve efficiency or growth.

We’re encouraging SMEs to apply without delay as the Fund enters its final year of operation.  Grants can be used towards the cost of a project that brings in any external expertise to help move the business forward - from marketing and web design specialists to financial or human resource consultants.

County Durham businesses can access up to 40% of Grant Funding for projects costing between £2,500 and £8,000 with Northumberland and Tyne & Wear businesses accessing up to 35% funding for projects costing between £3,000 and £8,000.

Funding will be proactively targeted at Business-to-Business organisations in the remaining months of the programme.  Due to a limit on the number of Business-to-Consumer organisations that can be assisted and the high level of recent demand, only the strongest Business-to-Consumer applications will receive support. It may be also worth noting that this is an extension to the current Fund and therefore we may be unable to provide funding if you have received a North East Business Support Fund grant since February 2018.  Visit the dedicated NBSF grant website here.

North Of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant

With a 50% grant available, this Fund can support eligible projects costing between £10,000 and £20,000 (excluding VAT), meaning a grant of between £5,000 and £10,000 is available to eligible SMEs and social enterprises across Northumberland, Newcastle Upon Tyne and North Tyneside.

To be eligible for funding your project needs to be 'innovative' - all that means is that it’s changing something for the better in your business - it could be a new product, an improved service, or a new way of working, it just needs to be something you’ve never done before.

Perhaps you’re looking at new IT systems and software to improve efficiency or thinking about working with a marketing consultant to launch a new product?  Maybe you're buying new equipment to automate a manual process, move into a new market or manufacture a new product.  These and hundreds of other projects could be eligible for funding.

If you’re a business that regularly evaluates the value you deliver and are thinking of a project that will improve what you do - then you’re being innovative and we may be able to help with this grant.  Visit the Innovation Funding website here.

Control costs through your carbon footprint

How do we reduce costs, save money and protect the environment is the first question posed at our most recent skills programme now available: ToNetZero.

Funded through the North of Tyne Combined Authority, this jargon-busting programme is a new skills programme helping you recognise the impact you could have on your carbon emissions and how you can develop your skills to spot ways of making changes with the potential to save costs.

Providing you with skills to design and implement your own plans, we’ve also lined up specialist speakers to inspire and encourage your ideas.

The programme is a flexible, fully funded skills programme supporting micro/SMEs and key staff over the age of 19 living in the North of Tyne and aims to develop your understanding, knowledge and skills through interactive, online workshops with each participant receiving eight hours of 1-2-1 support to help implement their own development plan for the business.  Find out more about ToNetZero here.

Building resilience thanks to NEBSF grant

With 2022 starting strongly, business resilience and operational efficiencies have become business critical to most businesses at the moment.

Thanks to the support of the North East Business Support Fund, NECS have been able to bring in external expert, Absolute Quality Consultancy & Training Ltd (AQCT) to support the development of a Business Resilience Strategy.

With AQCT’s support, Gary accessed grant support from business support agency NBSL via the North East Business Support Fund - which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Northern Powerhouse. “It was stress-free to apply for the grant,” says Gary.  “NBSL led me through the simple application process, it was very straight forward and the team came back with a decision to approve the grant within days.”

“The support received from the North East Business Support Fund and NBSL has been excellent and the grant has empowered our team to turn adversity into opportunity - identifying and unlocking new possibilities and would recommend any business use this Fund to help build company resilience.”

Read the full NECS grant journey here and see if we could help your business build resilience for the future.

The North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Northern Powerhouse as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The project is delivered by NBSL.


Please see the guide from Royal Mail explaining the new “IOSS” (Import One Stop Shop) for any sales into EU which has come into effect this week (from 1st July).

  • Removal of current VAT exception on low value parcels under 22EUR (now zero exceptions)
  • Introduction of Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) services
  • New rules regarding VAT from 1st July
  • See attached pdf for much more in depth information.  If you use couriers such as UPS or DPD check directly with them to see if they offer a suitable DDP service.

Also, see this link to watch on demand webinar on IOSS and VAT from Avalara.


The Export Academy from the Department for International Trade will help you grow your business by showing you how to sell to new customers around the world.

The course is FREE, and you’ll learn directly from experts in international trade who are on hand to provide support across a range of sectors and businesses, from selling children’s clothes to Spain, to providing PR services for clients in the US.

The programme is designed for owners and senior managers of businesses with a turnover of up to £500,000. 

What does the programme include?

You will graduate from the programme with a completed export action plan, enabling you to take your business direct to international customers.  This plan will be the culmination of everything you have learnt on the programme, from online events including:

  • Webinars
  • Round tables
  • Mentoring sessions

Registration Process: 

  • Step 1: Apply via the register button, selecting your relevant region
  • Step 2: Complete sign up questions and short questionnaire 
  • Step 3: Eligible applications will be notified, and event details will be provided via email

Click here to start the registration process.


All the webinars are free to UK companies.

You can expect to:

  • receive help and advice to sell overseas with confidence
  • gain new skills and knowledge
  • discover solutions to specific challenges to exporting
  • get your exporting questions answered by the experts

How long are the webinars?

Our experts usually present for 25 minutes and allow 35 minutes for answering your questions and helping you find solutions to any barriers you may face.

Look through the list to find the webinars you would like to attend.

Each link will connect you to a webinar registration form so you can receive your unique link to join the upcoming webinar.


UKCA MARKING DELAYED - Requirement to adopt UKCA mark (rather than CE Mark) postponed by a year following industry pressure.  Click here to read more.

IMPORT CHANGES - Importing from the EU is changing, there are various stages between now and March, please read more here.

We haven’t reinstated in person meetings, and don’t expect to any time soon.  If you would like to discuss anything related to exporting then please continue to contact Paul Sparks, many thanks.


Join the Department for International Trade North East for a six-week online training programme, designed to give you the knowledge and skills to transform your business’s international digital strategy.

This is a free self-service programme with mentor support throughout from a digital specialist, who will tailor the advice and support provided to your business needs and discuss how to move your business forward.

What’s involved?

  • Introductory one-to-one appointment with a digital specialist.
  • Three weeks to complete the first three online training modules and handouts.
  • Follow up one-to-one appointment with the specialist.
  • Three weeks to complete the final three online modules and handouts.
  • Final one-to-one appointment with the specialist.

The modules:

  • Introduction to the Programme
  • Strategy and How to Create a Digital Footprint
  • International Website Optimisation for B2B Companies
  • Capturing International Audience with Social Content
  • LinkedIn – Creating International Business Opportunities
  • Pitching and Negotiating Online

Contact Details: Department for International Trade North East -

Website URL here.

Social Media URL's:
Twitter: @tradegovuk_NE


Join the Department for International Trade (DIT) North East’s Global Fast Track programme for a six-week online training programme developed specialists.  This programme aims to help you assess each area of your business performance to create an action plan.

This is a free self-service programme with mentor support throughout from an e-Commerce specialist to discuss advice and support available provided for your business needs and how to implement them going forward.

What’s involved?

  • Introductory one-to-one appointment with an e-Commerce specialist.
  • Three weeks to complete the first three online training modules and handouts.
  • Follow up one-to-one appointment with the e-Commerce specialist.
  • Three weeks to complete the final three online training modules and handouts.
  • Final one-to-one appointment with the e-Commerce specialist.

The modules:

  • Introduction to the Programme
  • Re-defining your e-Commerce Strategy in 2021 and Beyond
  • Optimising your Site for International Audiences
  • Generating Leads: Social Media Marketing
  • Logistics and Fulfilment
  • Pricing Strategy

Contact Details - Department for International Trade North East -

Website link here.

Social Media URL's:
Twitter: @tradegovuk_NE
LinkedIn link here.


The Export Academy from the Department for International Trade will help you grow your business by showing you how to sell to new customers around the world. 

The course is free, and you’ll learn directly from experts in international trade who provide support across a range of sectors and businesses, from selling children’s clothes to Spain, to providing PR services for clients in the US.

The programme is designed for owners and senior managers of businesses looking to grow internationally and located in the Midlands, North, South West, or East of England.

What does the programme include? 

You will graduate from the programme with a completed export action plan, enabling you to take your business direct to international customers. This plan will be the culmination of everything you have learnt on the programme, from online events including:

  • Webinars
  • Round tables
  • Mentoring sessions

Contact Details - Department for International Trade North East -

Website URL here.

Social Media URL's
Twitter: @tradegovuk_NE
LinkedIn link here.


The Department for International Trade and British Irish Chamber of Commerce are inviting businesses to join an interactive webinar, exploring new trading opportunities in the Irish Market.

Geographical proximity, common language, close cultural and economic links, and numerous transport connections by sea and air, make Ireland an ideal target market for first time UK exporters.  This webinar will highlight the attractiveness of the Irish market for new exporters and discuss the post-Brexit dynamics for doing business with Irish customers.

Why Join?

  • Discover opportunities in the market
  • Find out how to formulate a successful market entry strategy
  • Learn about the barriers and common pitfalls facing new exporters
  • Hear advice from experienced exporters

Who’s it for?  Ireland is a good place for businesses to start exporting for the first time.  This webinar is designed for Northern Powerhouse businesses, who are new to exporting, and are looking to hear about the in-market opportunities.

Contact Details - Department for International Trade North East -

Website URL here.

Social Media URL's:
Twitter: @tradegovuk_NE
LinkedIn link here.


On Demand - Recorded September 2021

Infrastructure is a key sector for economic recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean (LATAC) and water in particular is an area where major investment is required.  This region is a key part of the world that will be affected by climate change and the UK has demonstrated strengths in sustainable infrastructure critical to meeting global climate net zero and resilience goals.
Infrastructure is a key driver of economic development, competitiveness and inclusive growth.  The opportunity and demand for infrastructure in this region is significant: the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) stated in 2020 that LATAC suffers from large infrastructure gaps (the difference between the infrastructure investment needed and the resources made available to address that need) and invests much less in infrastructure than other developing regions.  Over the past decade, the region invested 2.8 percent of its GDP in infrastructure, half the level of emerging Asia.
A number of economies across the region are now betting on sustainable infrastructure investment to drive economic growth amidst the dual challenges of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the effects of climate change.  UK companies are well positioned to partner with Latin American governments and companies to realise this vision, with UK expertise in delivering major projects and innovation in digital and sustainable infrastructure in high demand.
The webinar will cover the following countries and regions:

  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Peru
  • Central America
  • Caribbean

Opportunities for NPH Companies

Opportunities have been identified in the following areas:

  • Project, programme and cost management
  • Financing schemes (PPPs, BOT)
  • Architectural design
  • Digital Construction
  • Master planning/engineering services
  • Consultancy services
  • Flood prevention & mitigation
  • Rolling stock
  • Signalling Bridges 

If you are a Northern Powerhouse company working in infrastructure, join us to find out what opportunities are available to your business in the LATAC region.


Join Sam Myers, Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, Matt Alabaster, PwC’s International Trade Lead Partner and host Emily Khan in this episode of PwC’s ‘Business in Focus’ podcast series to discover the growing trade opportunities between the UK and Asia Pacific, from clean growth to digital technology.

Listen to the podcast here.


Webinar: Exploiting Education Opportunities Overseas (including EdTech) - Intellectual Property and Contractual Considerations

For companies involved in the EdTech sector this introductory webinar focuses on entering new markets, protecting your technology, and contractual considerations.  This introductory session, with the opportunity for questions, will be looking at some of the key intellectual property and contractual considerations when trading in tech abroad such as:

  • Routes into international markets from direct selling, incorporation, franchising, agency and distribution
  • Internationalising terms and conditions
  • Navigating local regulatory compliance
  • The categories of IP
  • Myths and reality
  • Cost and risk

View recording here.


The DIT send on an updated version every few months, but for up to date information you can also use the following links:

For All DIT Events and Trade Missions -

For North East Events -

For Northern Powerhouse Events and Trade Missions -


New Helpline for EU Exports - DIT now have a national helpline to help with paperwork and regulations for exporting to EU. Please see here.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA’s) Support - We have signed FTA’s with a number of countries and more will be signed next year.  This changes the export opportunities and can raise a number of questions for exporters.  So at DIT North East we have contracted out this support to “The Funding Forum” see here.  They have been issued with new internal email addresses and be part of our team.  Please send enquiries to Paul Sparks initially, then if relevant I’ll connect you with the correct person to continue FTA support.

If you export to FRANCE - Starting 1st January, VAT on imports in France will no longer be collected by the customs authorities but rather will be automatically reverse-charged on the importer’s French VAT returns.  This means it will not be possible to import goods into France without a France VAT number as all companies acting as importers of record in France will need to have a valid French VAT number and file VAT declarations.  Foreign companies can register for VAT in France even if they are not established in France or elsewhere in the EU. DIT France will be partnering with RM Boulanger, a company specialised in cross-border formalities and tax matters, if you need any support with this please let me know.

Paul Sparks International Trade Adviser, Department for International Trade.


Europe Trade Month: November 2021

New Export Support Service
The Export Support Service is a new government helpline and online service where all UK businesses can get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe.  Access the Export Support Service at GOV.UK/ask-export-support-team or by calling 0300 303 8955 where you will be put in touch with a member of our dedicated export support team.


DATE & TIME: Wednesday, 9th February 2022 - 10:00 - 12:00

What is the UK Export Academy?

The UK Export Academy from the Department for International Trade (DIT) gives businesses the know-how to sell to customers around the world by learning from experts in international trade.
 The UK Export Academy has been designed to accommodate different levels of exporting experience, whether your business is interested in starting to sell internationally or looking to grow your international sales further.  The academy will you to overcome common challenges that businesses can face.

What will your business get from the UK Export Academy?

  1. Foundation course: Build your knowledge and confidence if you’re relatively new to selling internationally or interested in learning about how to start.  You will leave the foundation course with an export action plan tailored to your business.
  2. Sector faculties: Sector specific webinars, masterclasses and virtual missions.  More experienced exporters can join sector faculties to provide your business with specific information to allow you to operate effectively in particular foreign markets or sectors.
  3. Market access events: Learn about the benefits of new market opportunities, including the benefits of new free trade agreements.

Who is the UK Export Academy for?

The UK Export Academy is open to any business in the UK who has a product or service that can be sold internationally. It is for businesses who know that they want to reach international customers and contracts in the future, as well as those who might already be selling beyond the UK and want to expand into new markets.

Register here now.


The new Export Support Service (ESS) - New phone and online support for exporting to EU can be found here.

New UK Tradeshow Programme providing funding of £2k to £4k per tradeshow - more information here.

Launch of the ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign - further information here.


The DIT Brazil Infrastructure team are currently in touch with a Brazilian company in the solid waste management and recycling sector that has a project related to plastic waste recycling.  Currently the company is looking for technologies to expand the capability of plastic recycling; improve the quality of PCR and other final processed materials; and perform mechanical recycling.  Click on the links below for more information on the opportunities available:


Join Sam Myers, Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, Matt Alabaster, PwC’s International Trade Lead Partner and host Emily Khan in this episode of PwC’s ‘Business in Focus’ podcast series to discover the growing trade opportunities between the UK and Asia Pacific, from clean growth to digital technology.

Listen here.


You might not be aware of “UK Export Finance” (UKEF) which can help you with funding for exporting and overseas projects (see here) and also the information below which includes a number of links.  If any of this is of interest to you please let Paul Sparks know and he will put you in contact with the North East representative for a free chat.

The “trade finance” support is exclusively for businesses with a turnover of £6m or more.  Whereas “export insurance” can be companies of any size, (it’s the buyers finances & trading history that is crucial).

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department, working alongside Department for International Trade.

Having finance and insurance backing from HM Government through UKEF gives you the edge you need to win and fulfil contracts and withstand risk of non-payment in international markets. UKEF supports exporters to:

  • access export finance
  • manage payment risks
  • win export contracts by offering competitive terms to buyers. UKEF works with banks and other financial institutions to support exports for any size of company and across all sectors, from capital goods to services and intangibles such as intellectual property.

Access export finance

If the terms of a contract require a bond, such as performance guarantees or advance payment guarantees, UKEF’s Bond Support Scheme can guarantee a UK exporter’s bank up to 80% of the bond’s value, significantly reducing the size of the deposit needed.

UKEF’s Export Working Capital Scheme can partially guarantee to cover the credit risks for lenders associated with export working capital facilities.  This means UK companies can export if they win a contract higher in value than usual, or win more overseas contracts than usual.

UK suppliers to exporters can now also access UKEF financing, further spreading the benefits of trade.  Becoming part of an export supply chain can help smaller companies get their products and services into new markets.

Managing payment risks

UKEF helps exporters manage the uncertainties of trading overseas.  Export insurance is readily available in most cases from the commercial sector but securing the right cover can be a challenge in some markets.

UKEF’s Export Insurance Policy extends to cover exporters who are unable to uphold the contract for reasons beyond their control, such as country risk or issues within a supply chain.

Offering competitive terms to buyers

UKEF helps exporters win contracts by providing attractive financing for overseas buyers, either in the form of guarantees on commercial loans or by lending to them directly.  This competitive, long-term financing is particularly relevant to buyers in new and emerging markets, but is also used for larger and longer-term projects that the private sector does not have the capacity to support.  UKEF can offer support in over 60 pre-approved local currencies, enabling more overseas buyers to buy from the UK and pay in their own currency.


Help us shape the support available for the North East Defence & Security Sector to grow Overseas!

DIT North East are delighted to announce the newly appointed Defence & Security Lead for the region, Scott Duncan.  Scott will be leading on a project on behalf of DIT to develop a sector plan for the North East to identify the companies that operate in the Defence & Security sector, our regional capabilities and propensity to export our products and services.  All of which will inform DIT’s strategic thinking to identify international trade support that we can provide you in the future.

As part of this activity, we would like your input in shaping the support we might offer North East businesses in the Defence & Security Sector to grow overseas in the future.  Please spare no longer than five minutes to complete this short survey.  Your response, alongside the opportunity for more in-depth discussion via a follow up appointment with Scott, will be critical in informing and
shaping our sector plan.

Click here to complete the survey.


The UK has now left the EU single market and customs union.  Whilst many aspects of Brexit are still unknown there are some things that will happen whatever the final outcome of the negotiations.  We’ve attached some guides to help you with this, every business will be affected in some way, even if it is just the way you store and process customer details etc.

The central point of information for all official government announcements and guides is

As well as DIT there are other government departments providing information to help with the transition.  The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have produced a range of webinars, access these live and on demand, scroll down the page after opening the page.

North East England Chamber of Commerce (NEECC) – Brexit Support Week starting 16th Nov, see this and other events here.

The North East Growth Hub has some great resources here.

DIT are getting a range of questions on how the end of the transition period will affect them, if you have any specific concerns about the end of the transition period please send email us and we will try to get you an answer or point you in the right direction.


The Department for International Trade has added many new events, both recorded and future events, including trade missions, webinars, etc. some are region specific and others available to businesses across whole of UK, please see and keep checking this as new events added all the time.


Please see on the left the PDF which provides updated guidance on overseas business travel following Brexit, such as new visa systems, work permits etc and also updated guidance on Recognition of Professional Qualifications which you might need to get officially recognised in order to continue to provide services in EU or EFTA countries.


The transition period ended on the 31st of December 2020.

The rules for trading with the EU and other countries changed on the 1st of January 2021.

Find out what tariffs you will be trading under
DIT launched a new tariff look-up tool to enable traders to easily find the future tariffs that will apply from the 1st of January 2021.

Visit GOV.UK to find out what tariffs you will be trading under from January 2021.

Find a commodity code
Visit GOV.UK to find your 10-digit commodity code to classify your goods and look up duty rates, reliefs and quotas.

Trade agreements from January 2021
In under two years the UK has agreed trade deals with 58 countries that account for £198bn of UK bilateral trade.

To check if the UK has negotiated a trade agreement with the country you trade with and what this means for you, visit GOV.UK.

Trade agreements that won’t be in effect by 1 January 2021
There are some trade agreements we have signed that we do not expect to be fully in effect from the 1st of January 2021.  Visit GOV.UK to read the latest guidance and find out what arrangements are in place.

With some negotiations more time is needed before a mutually beneficial trade agreement can be reached.  Where this is the case, the UK Government has put in place the UK Global Tariff for imports, trade with other World Trade Organisation (WTO) members will take place on WTO terms, and trade with eligible developing countries will take place under the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).

Open General Export Licence
From January 2021, traders will need an export licence issued by the UK to export dual-use items from Great Britain to the EU or Channel Islands.

Read the guidance for exporting controlled goods from 1 January 2021

You can register now for an Open General Export Licence through SPIRE, the online export licensing system.

What else can I do to prepare for the end of the transition period?

If you have any questions about preparing for the end of the transition period and you can’t find answers at GOV.UK/transition, fill out the enquiry form and one of our experts will point you in the right direction.

If you do not act now you will not be able to trade with the EU and other countries from the 1st of January 2021.


With the UK now an independent trading nation, DIT has online tools and resources which are the go-to source of information for all businesses who trade internationally.

They are also a great starting place for businesses looking to seize new global trading opportunities.

Exporting goods from the UK

If you export goods out of the UK, visit the Check How to Export Goods online tool to find information on UK borders, and duties and customs procedures for over 160 markets around the world.

To export dual-use controlled items from the UK you must have a licence issued by the UK, except if you are exporting from Northern Ireland to the EU or Channel Islands.  Find out if your items need a licence. 

Check which tariffs apply to imports into the UK

Use the tariff look-up tool to find the tariff information you need, including commodity codes, duty and VAT rates.

Where to find more information

If you have any questions about the new trading rules and can’t find answers online, fill out an enquiry form and one of our experts will point you in the right direction.


We have now left the EU single market and customs union and new trading rules apply.

Regardless of the outcome from negotiations with the EU, there are guaranteed changes and opportunities which businesses need to prepare for - including changes to the way you import and export goods with the EU and the process for hiring people from the EU.

To help you prepare, here are 4 things you should do:

  1. Visit GOV.UK/transition to take a short survey and receive a personalised list of actions that you and your business needs to take.
  2. Sign-up to webinars hosted by DITBEISHMRC and Defra to learn more about the actions you can take to ensure your business is prepared for the 1st January 2021. There are also recordings of sector-specific webinars.
  3. If you trade internationally, find out what you need to do to continue exporting goods to the EU and/or continue importing goods from the EU from the 1st January 2021.
  4. Sign up to email alerts to stay up to date with any further changes.

If you have any questions about preparing for the end of the Brexit transition period and you can’t find answers at GOV.UK/transition, fill out the enquiry form and one of our experts will point you in the right direction.

If you trade with countries outside of the EU, information is also available on the steps you need to take when importing and exporting goods.


The UK has now left the EU, and the Brexit transition period has come to an end.  Take action to get ready for new rules from the 1st of January 2021.  This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for businesses.   All information on the UK Transition can be found at


Country specific guidance on providing services and travelling for businesses from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated for the following countries:

Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Switzerland (an overview of the UK-Switzerland Services Mobility Agreement can be viewed here), Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Austria & Denmark.


The UK has signed the UK-North Macedonia agreement, for information on this and existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries, click here.


  • New - EU businesses: taxes and tariffs: Guidance has been issued covering what taxes and tariffs EU businesses might need to pay when trading with the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • New - EU businesses exporting to the UK: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to find out what they need to do to export to the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • New - EU businesses importing from the UK: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to inform them of what they need to do to import from the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • Updated - The Trader Support Service (TSS): You can continue to sign up to TSS if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. For more information, and to sign up, click here.
  • Updated - Check when you can account for import VAT on your VAT return: Guidance for VAT registered business has been updated with information on Non-established taxable persons and guidance on how to complete your declaration if you are accounting for import VAT on your VAT return. For more information, click here.
  • Updated - Kent traffic management on M20 motorway to Dover and Eurotunnel: Guidance has been updated to include further detail about Operation Brock - the traffic management system designed to keep Kent’s roads open in the event of disruption at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.  For more information, click here.
  • Updated - Importing and exporting live fish and shellfish from January 2021: Guidance for importers and exporters of live fish, molluscs and crustaceans for farming, ornamental, or any other purpose except direct human consumption, has been updated, including updates on movements to Northern Ireland.  For more information, click here.
  • Updated - Exporting or Importing objects of cultural interest from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been updated to include exporting objects of cultural interest from Northern Ireland from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • New - UK-Japan CEPA: Data protection: Information about data protection in the UK-Japan CEPA is available here.


  • Business Services
    • New - EU businesses providing services to the UK: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to find out what they need to know about providing services in the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Guidance for UK businesses providing services to Ireland from the 1st January 2021: Guidance has been updated for UK businesses on rules for trading in services with Ireland from the 1st of January 2021 to include information on the recognition of professional qualifications.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Selling services to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance for UK businesses offering services from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated with guidance for social security payments for employees.  For more information, click here.
  • Date & Intellectual Property
    • New - Data protection and copyright for EU businesses: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to inform them of what they need to do with data protection, intellectual property and copyright in the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - EU trademark protection and comparable UK trade marks from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance for businesses and organisations holding EU trade marks at the end of the Transition Period has been updated to replace the section on pending cancellation actions.  For more information, click here.
  • Designated Standards
    • New - Designated standards: Information has been issued for businesses about designated standards at the end of the Transition Period.  For more information, click here.
  • Chemicals
    • Updated - Letter to the chemical’s sector: The Business Secretary’s letter to the chemicals sector has been updated to reflect that chemicals regulatory obligations affect both new chemicals and existing chemicals already on the market. To view this in full, click here.
    • Updated – Manufacturing and marketing fertilisers from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance on how manufacturers and importers of fertilisers should prepare for changes from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated with further information.  For more information, click here.
  • Life Sciences
    • Guidance - Veterinary Medicines Regulations from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been issued on the UK Veterinary Medicines Regulations from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Guidance on pharmacovigilance procedures from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to provide further information about country codes and worldwide case IDs which should be used when submitting and receiving ICSRs.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated – Guidance on converting Centrally Authorised Products (CAPs) to UK Marketing Authorisations (MAs) from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance on ‘grandfathering’ and managing the lifecycle of medicinal products has been updated to include additional potential scenarios and clarify possible options available to applicants in relation to the processing and determination by the MHRA of pending Type IB and II variations at the time of the baseline submission.  For more information, click here.
  • Waste
    • Updated – Importing and exporting waste from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance about what UK waste importers and exporters must do to notify about waste shipments from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated.  Changes include new details on waste shipments from GB to Northern Ireland with Northern Ireland protocol context.  For more information about the updates, click here
  • Food & Drink
    • New - Poultrymeat Importing after the 31st of December 2020: A notice has been published to detail information regarding poultrymeat import quotas and information on licenses after the 31st of December 2020.  For more information, click here.
    • New - Pigmeat Importing after the 31st December of 2020: A notice has been published to detail information regarding pigmeat import quotas and information on licenses after the 31st of December 2020.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Exporting wild caught marine fishery products to the EU from the 1st of January 2021: The ‘One Stop Shop’ guidance document for fishing and seafood businesses has ben updated. To view this, click here.
    • Updated - Hops and hops products marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance for hops producers, manufacturers, retailer and distributors has been updated in respect of blends of hops and hops products, and exporting hops and hop products from Great Britain to the EU.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Beef and veal marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been added on moving between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the EU.  Guidance on Exporting beef and veal from Great Britain (GB) to the EU, importing beef and veal from the EU to GB and moving beef and veal from GB to NI has also been updated.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Poultry meat marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been updated with respect of exporting poultry meat from GB to the EU, moving poultry meat from GB to NI, getting poultry meat optional indication certificates, importing poultry meat from EU to GB and importing poultry meat from non-EI countries to GB.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Egg marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance on hatching eggs and chicks marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated along with guidance on Egg marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021.
    • Updated - Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS): Guidance on IPAFFS has been updated to show when importers can use IPAFFS to import their type of goods.  For more information, click here.


With just a few days to go until the end of the transition period, you can keep up to date by attending live webinars to help prepare your business.  You can also access sector-specific webinars about how to prepare your business here.

  • HMRC customs declarations webinars: HMRC have launched multiple editions of this live webinar covering how to complete customs import declarations and explaining how to make import declarations when importing goods between the EU and Great Britain.  Find a date and to register, click here.

Trading with the EU: A video series has been released that explains what businesses need to do to be ready for the 1st of January 2021.  These videos cover what businesses need to know about exports and imports, customs, commodity codes and controlled goods. To view the videos, click here.

Visit the GOV.UK transition webinar page to find out more and register here.

Podcast: Business and the Future of Immigration in 2021 - The Home Office has created a podcast episode in partnership with Intelligence Squared to help you prepare for the points-based immigration system.  Listen now to Business and the Future of Immigration in 2021.  Also available on Spotify and Apple.


Since 1st January, if you are based in the UK and VAT registered you should not charge any UK VAT to overseas clients.  They can’t now claim it back in their own country and the agreement we had for cross border VAT has ended.  If you use shopify you should adjust the setting that automatically add VAT to orders.  This will then start to show UK buyers the cost without VAT, the VAT rate and the total including VAT, and EU and rest of the world will see without the VAT.  This is the most basic change, there are other options detailed below.

The UK/EU deal has left a difficult situation for online sellers.  Part of the deal doesn’t start until July, so we are in a temporary phase for selling to the EU.  From 1st July 2021, this is set to be simplified with a new UK E-Commerce Directive and for goods up to 150 Euro the EU are introducing a “One Stop Shop” (OSS) which allows companies to register in 1 country and account for all their EU VAT in that one country.

There is an excellent guide from “Avalara”:

Four choices for your EU VAT and customs

Below are four options for sellers.  Remember, any marketplace you are using may restrict these choices to secure their own customers’ best experience - see option 4.  A further issue is where to clear the goods into the EU if you chose importer of record in the below options.  This is covered after this Options section.

1. Make your EU customer the importer of the record

  • Options after Brexit - Your EU customers will have to pay the freight delivery company the import VAT.
  • Pros and cons - This is the easy option for you, the seller. But means an awful seller experience and probably no repeat business. You may have to accept the goods back at extra costs and lost income. Many EU customers will spot that you are intending to do this and just shop elsewhere.

2. You clear the goods into the EU at sale

  • Options after Brexit - You will have to VAT register in the EU country of your customer. Remember - there are no more distance selling thresholds after Brexit.  You then pay the import VAT to clear the goods into the country (see comments below on country choice).  You then sell the goods to your customer at the local VAT rate.  You then offset the import VAT and sales VAT in the foreign VAT return.  You’ll also have to make a customs declaration and pay any tariffs. But your freight forwarder can help with that.
  • Pros and cons - This is a much better and seamless customer experience. This effectively reinstates the uninterrupted flow of goods that existed before Brexit. However, you will have customs and VAT compliance costs to worry about. But the good news is most EU countries have good deferred import VAT schemes, called Postponed Accounting. These let you avoid the cash payment of EU import VAT.

3. EU customer clears but you pay import VAT any tariffs

  • Options after Brexit - A mix of 1. and 2.  Legally, you make your customer the importer of record.  But you pay any  and import VAT via the freight forwarder.  This is sometimes called 'DDP with agent' or 'Buyers Agent'.
  • Pros and cons - This brings the good experience of 2 - your customer doesn’t have to worry about settling VAT.  Plus, like 1., you don’t have to bother getting VAT registered and doing filings.  But you will need to obtain a Power of Attorney from your seller, which adds to the checkout process time.  If you don’t want to lose the VAT you’ve paid, you’ll need to manage the VAT recovery process - which is now paper-based and very unreliable.  Also, the EU is reforming ecommerce in July 2021, and may limit this option in some EU states.

4. Hold cleared goods somewhere in EU

  • Options after Brexit - You ship and clear some of your popular goods into the EU, and hold in rented warehouse space as a fulfilment centre for your EU sales.
    If you are using a marketplace, they will likely insist you do this anyway to avoid being blocked.
  • Pros and cons - This involves an immediate inconvenience and cost of having to ship large quantities of stocks, and holding them in the EU. But, after that, it’s all very much as today in terms of VAT - and you don’t have to complete customs declarations (as you would in 2.) each time you make a sale.  You will still need foreign VAT registrations – certainly in the country where you hold the stocks.  And then in the other countries but only when you pass the distance selling thresholds.  But you can avoid the cashflow hassle of import VAT via Postponed Accounting (see above).
    Again, the EU will make this simpler from July 2021 with a single EU OSS VAT return.

Which EU country to clear the goods - avoid the import VAT cash trap!

If you chose 3. or 4. above, and you will clear the goods into the EU, you will face a further decision on where to clear the goods.

Countries like the Netherlands and Belgium offer very good VAT schemes - in addition to excellent transport links - if you clear your EU goods there.  You don’t have to pay import VAT.  Many freight forwarders will offer a good package around this.

Instead, you may decide to import into France (Dover ferry; Eurotunnel) but chose to move the goods to another EU country before you clear them for import VAT and customs.  Whilst an option, this creates more paperwork and means the VAT treatment is less favourable.  For example you may have lots of German customers, but it does not offer a Postponed Accounting regime.  So you will have to may import VAT.

See the full article here.

The option you choose will be dependent on the size of your business, products you sell etc. so review options carefully, if you are a small business you might be fine with the first option as long as you inform your overseas buyers upfront that they need to pay import VAT (but not UK sales VAT) if you simply ship the goods without telling them you are likely to get issues.

UK sellers used to trade under “Distance Selling Thresholds” your buyers will likely be aware of these which included selling to the EU and account for VAT in UK, until sales reached a certain limit (it varied country by country but was between 35,000 and 100,000 Euro.  When sales reached that level they had to register for taxes in the country of sale) Those rules no longer apply and now customs declaration and import Vat will apply.

For further information on VAT, please see "Businesses selling goods in the UK using online marketplaces - Find out your VAT obligations if you use an online marketplace to sell goods in the UK".


To help employers prepare for the points-based immigration system, the Home Office has created a podcast episode in partnership with Intelligence Squared.  The discussion covers what you need to know if you are thinking of hiring anyone from outside the UK from 1 January 2021.

Listen now to Business and the Future of Immigration in 2021.

Also available on Spotify and Apple.


The UK has left the EU.  The transition period ended on the 31st December this year and the UK left the single market and customs union.  Businesses should take action now.

Here’s what you need to know if your business imports goods from overseas.

What is the UK Global Tariff (UKGT)?

The UKGT is the UK’s independent ‘Most Favoured Nation’ tariff.  This is a schedule of taxes to be paid on goods imported into the UK from January 2021.  The UKGT will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff.

The UKGT will not apply to goods imported from a country that the UK has a trade deal witha country that is part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences or where an exception applies.

What should I do next?

  1. Learn more about the UK Global Tarif

  2. Plan ahead by looking up the tariffs you will need to pay using the tariff look up tool.

  3. If you import goods from the EU, learn more about the import process and border controls with the EU from January 2021.

  4. Visit GOV.UK/transition for more information about what you need to do to prepare for the changes coming into effect from January 2021.

You can also find information and advice about trading internationally (outside the EU) here.


The UK has left the EU, and the Brexit transition period has ended.  There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1st January, and you need to take action now.  All information on Brexit can be found at here.  This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for businesses.

NEW £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

The new £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund offers support to help small businesses adjust to new customs procedures, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU. 

SMEs who trade only with the EU, and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes, can apply for grants of up to £2,000, to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU. 

You can use the grant for training on:

  • how to complete customs declarations
  • how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin 

It can be used to help you get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements. 

Your business may be eligible if you have up to 500 employees, and no more than £100 million annual turnover. 

Applications for the SME Brexit Support Fund will open soon.  For more information on how you can use the grant, who can apply and how to apply, click here.

Importing and Exporting

NEW: Step-by-Step guides to importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and the EU: There are new rules for importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and countries in the EU.  Whether you’re completing customs declarations yourself or have an intermediary to do it for you, these guides will take you through each step and set out your options.

NEW: DEFRA’s Trader showcase sites for the latest information on exporting and moving goods from GB to the EU and NI: DEFRA's Showcase sites are a one-stop-shop of useful information and documents for traders who export live animals or animal products.

UPDATED: Importing from and re-exporting union goods to the EU Resources such as trader support packs and flowcharts, have been updated to include a new ‘Importing and re-exporting union goods to the EU – Flowchart'. For more information, click here.

UPDATED: Report goods arriving at a UK port on a commercial vessel:  Guidance for the ship’s master or ship’s agent of commercial vessels on reporting goods arriving in at a UK port, has been updated with information about ‘an account of stores held on board’. For more information, click here.  

UPDATED: List of customs agents and fast parcel operators: The list of agents and operators who can help submit customs declarations has been updated. For more information, click here.

Marketing goods

UPDATED: Using the UKCA marking: Guidance has been updated to include further instructions regarding the height of the UKCA marking.  For more information, click here.  

UPDATED: Using the UKNI marking: Guidance has been updated to include further instructions regarding the height of the UKNI marking.  For more information, click here.


UPDATED: UK trade agreements with non-EU countries: The list of trade agreements has been updated to reflect the fully ratified UK-Egypt and UK-Singapore agreements.  For more information, click here.

Business Support Helplines

NEW: Brexit transition helplines: A list of government helplines organised by theme and key actions for businesses has been published.  To view this, click here.

There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1st January, and you need to take action now.  To help you, a helpline has been set up.  For English businesses, the Business Support Helpline can help you identify the actions you need to take.  Similar helplines are available for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

For more information for:

  • businesses in England, call 0800 998 1098
  • businesses in Scotland, call 0300 303 0660
  • businesses in Wales, call 0300 060 3000
  • businesses in Northern Ireland, call 0800 181 4422.

For more information, including opening hours, click here.

Webinars and Podcasts

  • NEW: The National Cyber Security Centre is running a series of free cyber security webinars and talks aimed at UK businesses of all sizes, educational institutions and charities. For more information, click here.
  • NEW: Exporting goods from Great Britain to the EU via the short straits: A webinar and Q&A session on the issues arising from goods moving from GB to the EU, via the short straits, has been published.  To view these, click here.
  • Video content to keep your business moving: short on-demand videos covering the new rules on exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring are available to view here.
  • DEFRA are hosting a series of webinars covering importing food and drink, including composite food and fishery products from the EU to Great Britain (GB) from 1 April 2021.  For more information and to register for relevant webinars, click here.
  • Webinars for businesses that trade with the EU: Click here to view a list of webinars you can sign up to watch live or on demand. 

Sector-specific guidance

Emissions Trading

UPDATED: Participating in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS): Guidance explaining who the UK ETS applies to, and what is required of businesses that are covered, has been updated.  Information on auctioning has been updated to include information on the Auction Reserve Price, the Cost Containment Mechanism and the Auctioning Regulations. For more information, click here.  

Fishing & Fisheries

NEW: Scottish seafood taskforce to solve ongoing problems with exports: A new seafood taskforce has been established, drawing together senior political figures, industry representatives and UK Government officials, all working to solve ongoing problems with exports.  For more information, click here.  

UPDATED: How to export wild caught marine fishery products to the EU from 1 January 2021: The latest edition of the ‘One-stop-shop' guidance is now available. For more information, click here.


Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:


The Export Support Service is a new government helpline and online service where all UK businesses can get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe.  It gives access to cross government information and support all in one place.  If you are a UK business you can use this free service, no matter the size of your business or which part of the UK you are based.  DIT will continue to work with businesses and business representative groups from all sectors, in all parts of the UK, to help make the service as useful as possible for businesses.  You can access the Export Support Service here or by calling 0300 303 8955 where you will be put in touch with a member of our dedicated export support team.  You can also ask a question online.  The export support team will reply within 3 working days.  They might ask for more information.


Claim up to £2,000 towards training and advisory services

To help you adapt to new rules for trade with the EU, the IOE&IT has launched a SME Brexit Support Package of training and support, fundable by new government grants.

The government this week announced an additional £20 million available through the SME Brexit Support Fund.  Provided you meet certain eligibility criteria, you can get £2000 funding towards the costs of training and/or professional advice, to help you with changes to trade rules with the EU.

To help you adapt to new rules for trade with the EU, our SME Brexit Support Package is a good place to start.

One of our experts will provide a day's in-house training for your business (via virtual classroom), looking at the specific impacts new rules and regulations could have on your business.  They will create a one-page action plan with you to help ensure you're ready to continue EU trade.

The one-day training will cover the following core topics to help you, as an SME, continue trading:

  • EU:UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)
  • Exporting to the EU
  • Importing from the EU
  • Rules of Origin for duty free trade
  • Incoterms for EU trade
  • Commodity codes
  • Trade and customs documentation
  • Customs procedures
  • Product regulatory compliance
  • Summary and wrap up

Book your support package today.  Our team will help you through the grant application process.

  • £1950 inc. VAT for non-members
  • £1750 inc. VAT for IOE&IT members

The SME Brexit Support Fund can also be used against several of the Institute's one day training courses to ensure key members in your team have the knowledge they need to be able to continue to trade with the EU:

Due to COVID-19, courses are currently being offered through a virtual classroom.  You can view all the courses here.


Aims of the programme

The programme is designed to support innovation in the Construction, Health and Elec-Tech sectors.  It runs from 1 January 2021 until 30 June 2023. It is designed to support innovation to transform products, processes and services for the future, and create possibilities to extend, transform, replace and develop entirely new products and markets, growing their supply chains, feeding into improved productivity, employment and wider economic and other benefits for County Durham.  These sectors have been identified as they are areas of strength in County Durham.

Innovation areas have been further identified as strategically important in the LEP Economic Plan for the North East, to grow productivity, employment and new markets.  At government level, AI, The Data Economy, The Future of Mobility, Clean Growth, Ageing Society, and more recently The Green Economy, Net Zero and the Eight Great Enabling Technologies are very important innovation considerations for the future. Innovation may be disruptive, life enhancing and transition society to adapt, in order to meet our future needs in County Durham, and globally.

For further details on this project, please click here.


From the 31st December 2021 it will be mandatory to use the new UKCA marking (UKNI for Ireland) for products that currently require CE Marking, new guidance has been produced by UK Government.  Please see detailed step by step guidance and one page guides for both UKCA and UKNI as well as a FAQ document.

Work is currently being done to translate guidance into other languages so that businesses can make their overseas clients aware of the changes, as there is currently little awareness within the EU of these planned changes.


Electronic customs data is now required when sending items abroad

Electronic customs data is now mandatory when you send items/goods abroad (excluding personal correspondence).  You are required to provide customs data to us electronically in addition to the physical customs declaration (CN22 or CN23).  This has been effective since 1 January 2020.  Failure to comply is likely to result in delays, having items returned or even destroyed.

As of 1 June 2021, all Royal Mail shipping systems will require mandatory electronic customs data, to ship items internationally.

How to make it easy

Depending on how you are posting your items internationally, this will dictate on how you provide electronic customs data.

One of the ways to provide the required data is to use a shipping platform which meets the compliance requirements.

Royal Mail has shipping platforms such as Click & Drop* and Pro Shipping* or you can integrate you system with API Shipping.  These platforms capture and generate customs data files plus automatically create the required labels to send items abroad.

* Other competitor shipping systems also available

For Online postage, please ensure you complete the electronic customs form fully and completely.  This will pre-advise customs data to the receiving overseas postal authority and generate a physical customs form to attach to your item. 

Franking customers must include a self-adhesive S10 barcode on all untracked items (International Standard & International Economy) containing goods plus a clearly completed customs form (CN22/CN23).  Barcodes are available from  For tracked items an additional barcode is not required but clear and legible customs declarations must be completed.  Royal Mail will take care of customs pre-advice to the overseas postal authority.  See more on our International Services on account and franking page

If you are sending gifts/goods via a Post Office fully complete the relevant customs form (CN22 or CN23) clearly and legibly and attach it to your item. The Post Office will advise you of the correct customs form. Untracked items (International Standard and International Economy) should use the customs form that carries a barcode. If sending using one of our tracked and signature services an unbarcoded CN22/CN23 should be used. Royal Mail will take care of customs pre-advice to the overseas postal authority.

For further information, please visit the Royal Mail website.


I wanted to let you know about some information that our Public Health team have produced regarding lateral flow device testing that I thought might be useful for your business networks and contacts.

I’ve attached images of a postcard for those who are accessing lateral flow device COVID-19 tests - either through an employer programme, community/pharmacy collect or by directly ordering them from NHS Test and Trace.  It reminds people of their duties should they test positive (i.e. self-isolate and book PCR test) as well as signposting to sources of advice and support.

Andrea McGuigan, Business Durham


DIT North East would like your input in shaping our 2021/22 virtual events and webinar programme.

Ahead of the new programme release, we’re asking North East businesses which topics they feel would be most beneficial to maximise export potential.

To ensure the 2021/22 virtual events and webinar programme is beneficial to businesses in our region we would be grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete our short survey.

Responses can be anonymous and any feedback you can provide will help influence the practical knowledge and support we can offer North East businesses.