§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
Government assistance is provided by UK Trade amp; Investment, a joint DTI and FCO organisation with its own Chief Executive. I have Ministerial responsibility, reporting to the Secretaries of State for both Departments.
UK Trade amp; Investment delivers through Business Links in the English Regions. Companies which would benefit from export support can access a full range of services from market research to grants to exhibit at trade fairs and exhibitions overseas via their local Business Link International Trade Team. In doing so they gain access to UK Trade amp; Investment's Global Network of over 200 offices in 137 countries.
A key programme. "Passport to Export", aimed at new to export companies, has proved particularly successful. It provides a framework that guides businesses through a structured series of activities including a diagnostic or business healthcheck, bespoke export training, initial market research and a first market visit. Currently around 500 North West companies are on this programme.