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Easy and open access to global markets will be vital to the UK's future prosperity. Our work on trade gives CBI members an opportunity to influence and shape the government's agenda on trade in Whitehall and Brussels, as well as overseas through our office network in China, India and the United States. We also provide practical support to businesses of all sizes looking to enter international markets for the first time. As the UK government recasts its trading relationships with the world, there has never been a more important time for business to ensure its voice is heard.

Top priorities

  • Trade with the EU – Our future trading relationship with the EU will be pivotal to the UK's prosperity, not only as our closest trading partner but also as a blueprint for future trading relationships with other nations.  We will be working with members and in partnership with government to help shape this relationship throughout the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU.
  • Opportunities outside the EU – As part of our work on the EU, we will be consulting with members' to define business priorities for overseas non-EU trade opportunities.
  • Addressing the UK's trade imbalance – The UK's performance on exports has disappointed for a number of years and the government is set to miss its target to double exports to £1 trillion by 2020 by some distance. The CBI is developing ideas to boost exports and secure our place as the number 1 destination for overseas investment in Europe.

Policy issues affecting the industry

  • Market entry and international growth – The CBI's International team has a number of strategic partnerships with global organisations through which members can access support when entering new markets. These include our sister business federations, business councils and state trade promotion and investment agencies. Our own network of overseas staff can also help you with vital market insight and introductions to businesses which can help put your decision making in context.
  • Accessing trade finance – We regularly convene meetings with UK Export Finance (UKEF) and UK banks to raise awareness of trade financing options for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Influencing the UK government's trade agenda – Members of the CBI team meet regularly with Ministers and senior officials in the Department for International Trade (DIT), Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXU), UK Permanent Representation in Brussels (UKRep) and across the UK Embassy network overseas to communicate the views of business. Being part of our network gives you the opportunity to influence the agendas we take to these meetings.

How to get involved

  • Global Executive Breakfasts – Attend our annual programme of breakfast events with senior officials on trade policy from the UK and international governments, in London, Beijing, Brussels, New Delhi and Washington D.C.
  • International Advisory Group – Nominate your International Director to join our group which meets three times a year in London to advise on and develop the CBI's policy on trade.
  • Meet with our advisers – Our teams in London, Beijing, Brussels, New Delhi and Washington D.C. can advise you on policy developments, keep you informed about market developments and connect you to the right people to help your business grow.

CBI members can sign up to receive our monthly international newsletter to stay in touch with what we're up to.

To find out more about how CBI membership can benefit your business, fill out the form below.


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What our members are telling us:

Mark Harrison
Director, China Property Division, Atkins

"Atkins engages with CBI China on a regular basis. Their breakfast roundtables and monthly briefings have proven to be invaluable for both networking and keeping up-to-date with UK-China relations."

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