Latest News

The 6th SME China Forum

The SME China Forum is the leading business event supporting UK small and medium sized enterprises to trade with China. With the right advice and support, more and more UK companies are finding the Chinese market a realistic and accessible market for their goods and services.

Exports to China reached more than £16.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 19.4% from 2016. China is now the 6th largest market for UK goods and 17th for services. Building on this growth, it is encouraging that President Xi recently reiterated his commitment to open up the Chinese market to foreign imports.

Topics will include:

Runway to China – strategies and tactics for a soft landing in China The Chinese Consumer – a new wave of consumers for UK products

Find out more here.

HMRC’s begins roll out of new Customs Declaration Service

In August, HMRC launched the first release of its new Customs Declaration Service (CDS), which is replacing the 25 year old Customs Handing of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

CDS is a modern and flexible system that will allow importers and exporters who trade outside of the EU to include more items with each declaration, potentially reducing how many declarations they need to make. For the first time, your Government Gateway account will include a record of all of your businesses’ imports and exports.

To read full article please click here.

China – barriers to trade review

The UK Government is seeking to enhance trade with China, and is now at a crucial point in bilateral discussions where it needs to understand key opportunities and constraints in the Chinese market, and the priority negotiating areas it should focus on.

It would be very helpful if you could gather the following information from your members:

What are the five current Chinese regulations or policies that have the greatest negative impact on your business today?

What are the most significant potential opportunities for your business in China that you are restricted from accessingtoday?

What are the most effective steps you’ve seen taken to improve bilateral trade and investment with China? (this could include by other countries)

What are the most effective steps that DIT (or other parts of the UK government) should take to increase bilateral trade and investment in your sector with China?

What are the areas and opportunities in your sector that you would expect the Chinese government or businesses to have as their key asks of DIT? If these were agreed to, would they have material impact on your business?

We would be grateful if you could please send your answers to Anastassia Beliakova by 7 September.

Do you import goods from countries outside the EU?

If you currently use the UK Trade Tariff to make customs declarations, you will need to be aware of upcoming changes – now available for you to see on GOV.UK for imports. The changes for exports will be available later in the year.

If your agent or courier completes your declarations on your behalf, you may wish to share this information with them.

Why is the Tariff changing?

HMRC is phasing in the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) from August to replace the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. As well as being a modern, digital declaration service, CDS will accommodate new legislative requirements under the Union Customs Code (UCC). In order to comply with the UCC, you will need to provide extra information for your declarations which can be found in the tariff.

When will I need to use the new Tariff?

The majority of importers will start using CDS after No‌ve‌mb‌er 2‌018, once their software provider or in-house software team has developed a CDS compatible software package. Some importers will start making declarations on CDS before this, but there is no action for you to take unless you have been contacted by HMRC to be part of this group.

For more information on the new Customs Declaration Service and how it may affect your business, please visit the CDS page on GOV.UK. To stay updated on important changes to Tariff information, you can subscribe to 'Tariff stop press notices' here.

RBCC Trade Mission to Moscow Region, 28 October - 2 November 2018

Following on from the success of the RBCC Trade Mission to the Republic of Tatarstan in April 2018, the Chamber will be taking another delegation to Russia, this time from the UK to Moscow and its outer industrial regions.

It is intended that the mission will begin with the journey to Moscow on Sunday 28 October, and culminate in the RBCC’s annual investment forum, RussiaTALK on 1 November, travelling home on 2 November .

find out more here.

New UK Trade Remedies regime – provisional findings

The Government has now published the provisional findings of the trade remedies call for evidence. The report can be found in the ‘Documents’ section of the call for evidence webpage. There will be two webinars and a round table to explain the provisional findings and next steps:

Industry Roundtable at 3 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2AW at 11am – 12 noon on Monday 6 August.

Webinar at 3pm – 4pm on Thursday 9 August - Register here.

Webinar at 11am – 12noon on Thursday 16 August - Register here.

The 72 measures which did not meet the Government’s criteria for maintaining measures covered the following products. Government wants to make sure that there is definitely no UK production of these products – if any of our Suffolk Chamber members produce these, please get in touch with Lizzy Hawkins by 24 August.

Acesulfame potassium

Aluminium foil

Aluminium foil in large rolls

Aluminium foil in small rolls

Aluminium radiators

Aspartame (sweetener)

Barium Carbonate

Citric acid

Citrus fruits

Coated fine paper

Electric bicycles

Ferro Silicon

Graphite electrode systems

Hand pallet trucks & their essential parts

High tenacity polyester yarns 

Lever Arch Mechanisms

Lightweight thermal paper (65gr/m2 or less)

Low carbon ferro-chrome

Manganese dioxide


Molybdenum wires

Monosodium glutamate

Okoume plywood

Open mesh glass fibre fabrics

Oxalic Acid


Ring binder mechanisms

Seamless pipes and tubes (large 406.4mm)

Seamless pipes and tubes of iron or steel

Silicon metal

Sodium cyclamate

Sodium gluconate

Solar glass

Solar panels

Stainless steel cold rolled flat products

Stainless steel tubes and pipe butt wielding fittings

Stainless steel wires 

Steel (wire) ropes and cables

Sulphanilic acid


Tartaric acid

Threaded tube and pipe cast fittings of malleable cast iron

Trichloroisocyanuric acid

Tube and pipe fittings of iron or steel

Tubes and pipes of ductile cast iron

Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten Electrodes

British Chambers - Trade Mission to the Philippines

The Philippine manufacturing sector is one of the fastest growing in the region, with manufacturing contributing 23% to the Philippines’ GDP and accounting for more than half of the country’s industrial sector. To encourage investments, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has designated over 400 special economic zones located all over the country that provide special incentives for export-oriented companies.

The EU-Philippines Business Network is organising a trade mission on 1-5 October with the aim of informing EU companies of the advantages and opportunities in setting up their manufacturing, assembly and services facilities in the Philippines. More information can be found here online, and please contact Anastassia Beliakova if you would like to take part.

Cross Sector Technology Trade Mission to Singapore - apply before 27 July!

Find out more here

The clock is ticking on Brexit negotiations

What does the outcome of the recent EU Summit mean for the pound? The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier highlighted that “time is very short,” for the details of any Brexit deal to be completed. He stated that he was expecting “workable and realistic” proposals from the UK in the white paper due to be published later in July. However, with indications that immigration policy – one of the key sticking points of the negotiations - will not be set out until as late as September, his expectations may not be reached.

view full document here

Guidance on EU nationals a positive step, says BCC

Commenting on the draft rules on the EU Settlement Scheme statement of intent, published today by the Home Office, Mike Spicer, Director of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The guidance published today will be welcomed by employers and EU employees alike. It provides clear information on the status of EU nationals resident in the UK and those who arrive during the transition period after March next year. We know that some businesses lost European employees in the aftermath of the referendum, owing to the uncertainty they faced, so assurances that they can stay are a positive step forward. The next step is for the draft rules to be laid before Parliament and we urge all Parliamentarians to ensure this stage is concluded swiftly.

“We look forward to working with the Home Office to ensure greater clarity on this and other areas in the long term.”

B2B Brokerage event in the Czech Republic

Read details here

In October (19-20.10.2018) DRONETECH are organizing a B2B event related to modern technologies, especially in the drone industry and unmanned aerial vehicles. Dronetech 2018 - B2B Event -

Why is it worth taking part in meetings?

The Brokerage Event (B2B meetings) gives you the opportunity to present your product, technology or research offer, not only to domestic partners, but above all to foreign ones. Meetings of this type often result in establishing long-term international cooperation.
The B2B Event is an ideal platform for:

• observing the market and acquiring knowledge about the latest industry trends,
• discussing licensing, production and distribution agreements,
• identify potential partners to strengthen export activities.

To find out more click here

Moneycorp: state of the pound following the vote of the Brexit bill in June

A major vote in parliament on 12th June on amendments to the Brexit bill delivered a lot of drama but little in the way of clear answers. On the surface, the government won the day and voted to reject the majority of the Lords’ amendments. However, there were heated words from both sides in parliament and PM Theresa May was harried by front and back bench alike. The morning of the vote brought the resignation of Justice Minister Dr Phillip Lee. He resigned in order to vote against the government and accused the government of trying to "limit" Parliament's role in the process. In the end, Dr Lee abstained from the vote after receiving last-minute assurances of concessions from the government on the key issue of whether Parliament has any say on the final UK-EU Brexit deal.

view full document here

BCC Quarterly Economic Survey: UK economy treading water despite export boost

Based on the responses of over 7,100 businesses, the survey shows that UK economic growth remained subdued in the first quarter of 2018, despite a strong export performance.

In the service sector, a key driver of the UK economy, the proportion of firms reporting improved export sales and orders rose slightly, although overall growth remains muted and relatively unchanged from the previous three months. View full article here

BCC: Government must establish permanent dialogue with business on future trade deals

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is today (Wednesday) intensifying its call for the UK Government to establish a formal, permanent dialogue with business, consumer and civil society organisations to ensure that trade negotiations - including those on Brexit - draw on the detailed knowledge, expertise and experience of the private and third sector. View full article here


A huge effort is underway in Egypt to upgrade public and private healthcare facilities. The government is looking for investment in medical manufacturing facilities, particularly in the new Suez Canal Economic Zone.

With a growing population already over 100 million to accommodate, Egypt’s Ministry of Housing is building new cities that require hospitals and medical centres. There is a further need for high-quality medical furniture, appliances, surgical equipment, disposables and pharmaceuticals.


Egypt’s Ministry of Transport has significant development targets in three main areas; roads & bridges, railways & metro, and maritime (ports, dry ports and river ports). The Ministry is actively looking for private sector involvement in the construction of a new road network (2000km), the renewal of 1200km rail tracks, the purchase and local manufacturing of 1300 rail passenger coaches, the maintenance of 150 rail stations, and replacement & renewal of rolling stocks (priority). The metro system is expanding from 77km currently to 300km by 2024, a total of 6 lines will service the Greater Cairo area.

Their three-day programme includes meetings with senior officials in government, site visits and B2B opportunities. 

For more information please visit The Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce linked here or email Karin Van Wesep:

British Chamber of Commerce - Key Changes to VAT

Our colleague Joe Hepworth, CEO British Centres for Business in Saudi Arabia has drawn our attention to a key change to VAT that will be introduced into the United Arab Emirates on 1st January 2018. All GCC countries have agreed that it will be mandatory for companies with revenue of over approximately US$100,000 to be VAT registered with the Federal Tax Authority.  It will be voluntary for companies with a turnover of more than US$50,000, but with thresholds so low, the majority of companies in the UAE will pay VAT.

With the go-live date of VAT in the region just 2 months away those exporting to GCC countries using the DDP Incoterm should be aware of the 5% charge being introduced. The Charge of VAT on imports will work in a similar way as it does in the EU at present with the VAT being paid before goods can be released.  Where appropriate the importer will be able to reclaim the VAT paid.

For the latest information as well as more detailed information please refer to the UAE Ministry of Finance website

If you would like to learn more about any of the news please contact Rachel Cornes