Trade Officers: Winning Business for UK Companies for Years!

Sarah Hildersley
Market Specialist - Latin America | Department for International Trade - South West
13th October 2015

One of the most valuable assets that the Department for International Trade has, is its overseas Trade Officers.  I have been lucky enough to work with teams in the Middle East, in Mexico and many other markets.  Almost without exception, they are hugely committed to their support for UK companies.  

On one occasion in Mexico, a UK company was trying to secure a US$6m contract with one of Mexico's leading conglomerates.  During the discussions to finalise the contract, we got seriously waylaid on a particular point that is standard in Mexican contracts, but not usually included under English law.  Our local trade officer realised that the UK company could not understand what was a purely cultural, rather than a commercial, point and explained to them in clear terms why it was standard in Mexico.  This unlocked the negotiations and the contract was won.

In Jordan one time, we had 3 UK expert speakers lined up to provide presentations on Private Public Partnerships (PPP) but they were stuck in Lebanon the day before, when the airport closed down.  Local DIT teams in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria coordinated a series of drivers and taxis, making arrangements for the party to be transferred over land to the Syrian border, to Jordan and then our trusty local driver collected them from the Duty Free store on the Jordanian border and got them safely to Amman.  The PPP event was saved and we didn't have to cancel 120 attendees at the last minute.  Three UK companies won considerable business off the back of that seminar.  Our PPP speakers still dine out on the story.  Our overseas teams have years of valuable experience between them and continue to work away every day on immensely value business wins for the UK.  

Sometimes it is the intangible things that help companies win business; years of cultivating top level contacts, and industry friends in the know, are brought to the table.  Most UK companies know that it takes so much time to win new business, but this behind the scenes effort to secure business for British companies opens those doors on their behalf, saving them time, effort and adding credibility to their offer as well.  This goes on in over 100 markets around the world.  The dedication, experience, and immense networks of DIT teams overseas are fundamental to making things work for UK companies.  


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