UK Pavillion at InnoTrans 2022

UK: The Railway Industry Association has submitted a series of recommendations to the International Trade Select Committee setting out how it believes the government can grow rail exports.

The committee is holding an inquiry examining the current situation for exporters, the government support offered, and how easily exporters can access that support.

Supply chain association RIA has submitted eight key recommendations, urging the government to:

  • increase the level of support at overseas rail exhibitions and UK pavilions;
  • review the cancellation of the previous Tradeshow Access Programme and reintroduce or improve the existing UK Tradeshow Programme grant scheme;
  • where possible, produce a visible pipeline of international rail projects looking to be awarded project finance support from UK Exports Finance;
  • provide seed funding and initiatives to support exporters, especially SMEs, by re-introducing or continuing the Internationalisation fund;
  • recognise suppliers’ decarbonisation efforts in their production cycles;
  • ensure UK railways can align as much as possible with international standards;
  • provide specific support to SMEs wanting to export by including an SME chapter to free trade agreements;
  • provide an assurance that the risk to exports from divergence is being accurately assessed as part of the Retained EU Law Bill.

‘UK rail already has a strong global reputation, with the supply chain exporting its world-leading products, services and capability to overseas markets’, said RIA Exports Director Neil Walker on March 23. ’While rail exports are immensely valuable – totalling over £600m in the year before the pandemic started – there is great potential to grow exports more, boosting the country’s trade and increasing the resilience of the UK supply chain, for example by creating new SME jobs.

‘At a time when the UK government is seeking to redouble its efforts to build a “Global Britain”, it is important that support for rail exporters increases in the future.’