GMCC welcomes launch of new UK’s Import and Supply Chain Strategy

Date: 23/01/2024
Author: Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Company: Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

The Department for Business and Trade announced on 17th January the launch of a new Import and Supply Chain strategy, the first of its kind, which aims to build resilience in supply chains and safeguarding critical imports which are essential to the UK’s economy, key services and national security. From medicines to semiconductors key to modern electronics, this strategy will ensure the UK navigates effectively through the challenges imposed by a highly globalise world economy. 

In an ever fast-paced work where businesses are facing unprecedented challenges such as the recent Red Sea attacks which have cause serious disruptions to the global supply chain, as well as the COVID pandemic, the Russian invasion to Ukraine, natural disasters and more, ensuring the UK maintains a reliable access to key goods from around the globe is paramount.    

The strategy outlines five key priority areas where the Government will be taking action in order to continue building on the resilience of critical supply chains, including: 

  1. Becoming a centre of excellence for supply chain analysis and risk assessment 
  2. Removing critical import barriers to support the UK’s business-friendly environment 
  3. Building resilience around the UK’s response to global supply chain shocks 
  4. Ensuring the UK can adapt to long-term trends – working closer with international partners 
  5. Expanding collaborations between government, business and academia. 

Susana Cordoba, Head of International Trade at Greater Manchester Chamber, said: "We welcome this strategy as it shows the government understanding the important role played by imports in keeping our economy strong but also supporting our exporting capacity, as well as the impact that has on consumers."

Responding to the release of the Government’s Critical Imports and Supply Chain Strategy, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy, at the British Chambers of Commerce said:“This strategy provides a substantial and compelling picture of the reliance an open trading economy, like the UK’s, has on these imports.   

“We welcome its publication and its 18 recommendations, particularly the establishment of a Critical Imports Council, offering a focus on how the strategy is being delivered.   

“We believe there is a role that trade policy can play, alongside inward investment strategy and industrial policy, to increase supply chain security.  

“We would encourage Government to consider using free trade agreements and other mutual recognition deals with like-minded partners to broaden the UK’s supply sources.  

“In particular, we hope the UK can develop deeper relationships with key critical material countries like Chile, and successfully conclude a Critical Minerals Agreement with the US.   

“The pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East show the UK’s deep connectivity with the rest of the world for key medicines, communications technology and components for manufacturing.  

“We believe the Strategy sets out the right approach and look forward to engaging on how it can be delivered in the interests of growth in trade and inward investment.”  

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