News & Events

Campaign for more British exports to Asia launched by Dr Vince Cable and William Hague

Posted Date : 07/12/2011

Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable and Foreign Secretary William Hague are today launching a UK Trade & Investment campaign to encourage more British companies to export to Asia's high growth and emerging markets.

As part of the campaign, UK Trade & Investment has joined forces with RBS to deliver a series of programmes that will demonstrate key business opportunities across 12 Asian markets to UK firms.

The events will be held in February 2012, and will focus on China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and co-chair of the Asia Task Force, said:

"British businesses are already succeeding in many markets across Asia. I saw this first hand during a recent visit to Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam and in previous visits to Japan, Korea, China and India.

"In the last year, our exports to the 12 markets in this campaign were worth £25 billion though we are still well below potential. The Government's recent decision to allocate an additional £45 million to international trade promotion will help more medium-sized exporters and will also double the number of SMEs UK Trade and Investment supports from 25,000 to 50,000. I urge companies from all sectors to get involved in this campaign, and see what opportunities Asia could hold for them.

"Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

"There can be no doubt of the importance of Asian markets, as the world's focus shifts from West to East. By 2030 spending by Asian consumers is expected to be around $32 trillion annually or about 43% of worldwide consumption. So the economic compass of British businesses should be pointing firmly East, and we are determined to support them in their efforts.

"This is commercial diplomacy in action.  Around twenty of our senior diplomats with enormous commercial experience in these markets will team up with business leaders who have been there and done it. Together, they will give face-to-face advice to UK business on how they can succeed in Asia." 

Scott Barton, Chief Executive of Global Transaction Services, at RBS said:

"Together with UK Trade & Investment, we want to encourage British businesses to do business in Asia. The Asian markets offer extensive and diverse growth potential for UK companies.  Businesses still need a helping hand to demystify trading with Asia. We hope this campaign will make a real difference in helping firms of all sizes succeed in Asia." 

During the campaign, which runs until March 2013, UK Trade & Investment will hold  a programme of events and develop practical guides to ensure businesses gain the knowledge and confidence they need to succeed in the Asian markets starting with a ‘Smart Cities of the Future in Asia' publication . 

In addition, a search will be launched in February 2012 to find and promote the most inspiring British businesses currently exporting to Asia to motivate other UK businesses to follow their lead.

UK Trade & Investment will use social media including LinkedIn and Twitter to raise awareness of the opportunities  for businesses in Asia,  and  to  share expertise and insight .  

UK Trade & Investment's flagship campaign events in February 2012 will be:

  • ‘Explore Asia - a world of opportunities for UK companies' conference on 9 February 2012 at Central Hall, WestminsterThis will be a fact-packed, practical day of business master classes, market clinics and networking.  UK companies already succeeding in Asia will be celebrated and the showcase search launched.  The final research findings of the ‘Smart Cities of the future in Asia: The Opportunities for UK business' report will also be announced.  
  • Regional ‘Doing Business in Asia' events.  These four events hosted by RBS around the country   will bring together UK Trade & Investment market specialists and experts from  RBS, allowing businesses access to export advice  in their local area.

This campaign builds on a number of recent visits to the region by Senior Ministers and a series of  Asia-focused announcements by the Coalition Government including:

  • The launch of a UK-ASEAN Business Council this November, to sit alongside the China-Britain Business Council and UK-India Business Councils to help UK SMEs succeed in these markets.
  • Backing plans for ambitious EU free trade agreements with India, Japan, and Singapore and other ASEAN countries.  
  • A network shift of FCO resources announced by the Foreign Secretary in May 2011 including: strengthening frontline staff in China by up to 50, and in India by 30; a substantial expansion in Indonesia; and additional staff in a number of other emerging powers.
  • Targets to double trade with India, and increase trade with China to $100 billion, by 2015 
  • New Government-to-Government trade dialogue s with Singapore and Indonesia building on those we already have with other Asian markets

For more information, visit   

Media contacts:

For more information about UK Trade & Investment contact Rosetta Buahin at UK Trade & Investment Press Office on 020 7215 8530 or email

For information about the Asia Taskforce or the Asia campaign contact Emma Foster on 07890 284318 or email

For more information about the RBS Group or to request an interview contact: Erfan Hussain, Media Relations Manager, on 0207 672 1913 or email  

Notes to Editors:  

  1. The Asia Task Force is a network of senior Government figures and UK business leaders, whose expertise and experience focuses on the development of broad economic relationship between the UK and emerging markets.  It meets on a quarterly basis to discuss ways in which to help British companies win a significantly bigger share of the business in the fastest growing markets in Asia. Members of the Asia Task Force include: 
    Co-Chairs: Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord Powell of Bayswater.
    Members: Phillip Bouverat,  Director of Global Accounts, JCB; Sir David Brewer CMG, Chairman, China-Britain Business Council; Samir Brikho, Chief Executive Officer, AMEC plc; Tudor Brown, President, ARM Holdings plc; Graham Cartledge CBE, Chairman, Benoy; Maggie Choo, Director, International Business Development & Marketing, ; Miles Cowdry, Director, Global Corporate Development, Rolls Royce plc; Philip Dilley, Group Chairman, Arup; Akio Fukui, CEO, Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe; Sir Bill Gammell, Chief Executive, Cairn Energy plc; Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham; Syed Anwar Hasan, Managing Director, Tata Limited; Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt, Chair, UK-India Business Council; Stephen King, Group Chief Economist, HSBC Bank plc;  Dr Cho Khong, Chief Political Analyst, Shell International; Sir Richard Lambert, UK Business Ambassador; Prof. Peter Nolan CBE, Sinyi Professor and Chair, Development Studies, Cambridge Judge Business School; Dr Gareth Price, Head of Asia Programme, Royal Institute of International Affairs; Shabir Randeree, Executive Chairman, DCD Group; Christian Salbaing, Deputy Chairman, Hutchison Whampoa (Europe) Ltd; Sir Kevin Smith CBE, Chief Executive, GKN plc; Professor Lord Nick Stern, Chair, Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science; Parminder Vir OBE, Director, PVL Media Consultants; Victor Zhang, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Huawei UK & Ireland
  2. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK's economy - acknowledged as Europe's best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or telephone +44 (0)20 7215 8000. For latest press releases, visit the online newsroom at You can also keep in touch with developments at UKTI through, and
  3. ‘Smart cities of the future in Asia: The opportunities for UK business' This UK Trade & Investment research report will benchmark the most dynamic cities across Asia in terms of their levels of smart Japan,    South     Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam. For interim findings covering four of the markets, launched at TechWorld 2011 in November visit:

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