Minister hails ‘world-class’ exporters as new data shows UK businesses reach record highs

Exports Minister Malcolm Offord has praised the UK’s ‘world-class’ exporters as new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released today (29 September) shows UK exports performed even better than previously thought.

The figures reveal that the UK’s total exports in 2022 were worth a huge £834 billion, putting the UK well on the way to hitting its target of £1 trillion of exports a year by the end of the decade.

2022 was a record year for the UK’s services exports in particular as they topped £400 billion for the first time, and new ONS data estimates they were worth £411 billion in total last year – £10 billion higher than the original estimation of £401 billion.

The ONS have said this is due to more data becoming available and more accurate methodologies being used to calculate export values – particularly for education services exports.

Minister for Exports Lord Offord said:

This is fantastic news and shows our world-class exporting businesses are doing even better than first thought and selling more of the goods and services to the world.

The UK is a services superpower, hitting over £400 billion in exports for the first time last year, but we want to see even more businesses exporting, so we can hit our ambitious target of £1 trillion of exports a year by 2030.

We’re backing British business by knocking down trade barriers, signing new trade deals, giving expert advice via our Export Support Service and funding through UK Export Finance – our award-winning export credit agency.

Marco Forgione, Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade said:

It’s positive to see improvements across a range of exports within both trade in goods and services.

The Institute of Export & International Trade’s recent report ‘Global horizons: realising the services exports potential of UK nations and regions’ demonstrates why we are a services powerhouse. It’s vital that we maintain our global advantage as an exporter of services and one of the key recommendations of our report was creating regional sector specialisations – which, if implemented, will improve regional outputs.

We have a clear pathway to continue this success and by focusing on our nations and regions we can work together with businesses to reap the benefits of entering new markets.

The ONS has today published an article setting out a detailed assessment of its changes to the export stats, available online on its website.

Link: Minister hails ‘world-class’ exporters as new data shows UK businesses reach record highs
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Government delivers over one billion pounds of support to over 100,000 small firms

  • Over one billion pounds has now been delivered to scale up small businesses through the government backed Start Up Loan scheme.
  • The scheme offers access to finance and expert advice to allow new SMEs to scale up and grow.
  • Loans have supported businesses in every region across the UK, 40% have gone to female-led firms, and one fifth have supported people from ethnic minority backgrounds

A government backed loan scheme created to help entrepreneurs start and scale up their business has now provided over £1 billion of funding to over 100,000 businesses.

From an activewear firm in Northern Ireland, to a drum manufacturer in Wales, a whisky firm in Scotland to a climbing centre in the southwest of England – every nation and region across the UK has benefitted from these loans, supporting entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

Delivered through the state-owned British Business Bank, the Start Up Loan scheme was developed and launched by the government in 2012 to help new and early-stage UK businesses without sufficient personal funds or support from friends and family to access affordable finance and mentoring support.

Through this combined access to finance and expert advice, more small businesses can develop and reach their potential, delivering economic growth and a boost to local communities.

Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

“We’re delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy and make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale up a business.

“Across all four nations and every region of the UK, we’ve supported exciting entrepreneurs through one billion pounds of government backed loans, and I want to see even more innovators reach their potential.”

The scheme has been particularly successful in supporting entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, creating a level playing field for all who wish to run their own small business in the UK.

Last year, the scheme was expanded to provide finance to eligible businesses operating for up to 5 years to support their growth.

Liang Zhang, co-founder of Liverpool based jewellers Robin Valley said:

“The Start Up Loan saved us from a tricky period this summer, arriving just in time for us to be able fulfil important orders and pay staff. Thanks to the loan, we are now a profitable business again”.

Of the £1 billion, £371 million (40%) has been lent to female business owners and £201 million (20%) has been lent to people from Black, Asian and Other Ethnic Minority backgrounds.

The scheme has also been successful at championing young entrepreneurship, with young people between 18-24 years old having received £106 million (11%) of loans since the programme began.

Start Up Loans have been issued to businesses in every UK parliamentary constituency. The majority of loans have also been issued to businesses outside of London and the South East, ensuring that businesses across the UK are able to scale up and grow. Outside of these regions, the North West and Yorkshire and Humber have received the largest shares of the loans, receiving £121,619,51 and £89,997,598 respectively.

Link: Government delivers over one billion pounds of support to over 100,000 small firms
Source: Assent Information Services

Prime Minister announces record climate aid commitment as G20 in India concludes

  • UK will provide $2 billion to the Green Climate Fund – the biggest single funding commitment the UK has made to help the world tackle climate change

  • Uplift makes a significant contribution towards the UK’s pledge to spend £11.6 billion on international climate finance, cementing our global climate leadership

  • UK continues to show global climate leadership, having cut emissions faster than any other G7 country

As a gathering of G20 leaders in India concludes today (Sunday), the Prime Minister has announced the UK’s biggest single financial contribution to helping the world’s most vulnerable people adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change.

The UK will contribute £1.62 billion ($2 billion) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was established by 194 countries following the Copenhagen Accord at COP15. The GCF is the largest global fund dedicated to supporting developing countries to reduce global emissions and helping communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

Today’s pledge represents a 12.7% increase on the UK’s previous contribution to the GCF for the period of 2020 to 2023, which was itself a doubling of our initial funding to establish the fund in 2014.

At the G20 Summit the Prime Minister has called on leaders to work together ahead of the COP28 Summit this December to both reduce their countries’ own carbon emissions and support vulnerable economies to deal with the consequences of climate change.

Addressing G20 leaders, the Prime Minister said:

The UK is stepping up and delivering on our climate commitments, both by decarbonising our own economy and supporting the world’s most vulnerable to deal with the impact of climate change.

This is the kind of leadership that the world rightly expects from G20 countries. And this government will continue to lead by example in making the UK, and the world, more prosperous and secure.

The UK has led international efforts to help developing countries tackle climate change, including by pledging to spend £11.6 billion on international climate finance between 2021 and 2026.

Today’s announcement marks a major contribution towards this commitment and follows the Prime Minister’s announcement at COP27 that the UK would triple our funding for climate adaptation.

Since 2011 UK climate aid spending has helped over 95 million people cope with the effects of climate change and reduced or avoided over 68 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

This goes hand in hand with the UK’s domestic leadership transitioning to clean forms of energy. The UK has cut emissions faster than any other G7 country, with low carbon sources now accounting for more than half of our electricity.

We saw renewables generate a record 47.84% of UK electricity in the first three months of 2023 and output from wind, solar and hydro reached a record high last year. Last year, we saw the biggest increase ever in the installation of offshore wind capacity, with the UK home to the four largest working wind farms in the world.

Alongside this uplift in the UK’s contribution to the GCF, which is expected to again make us one of the largest donors to the fund, the UK Government will continue to stress the importance of the GCF delivering results with even greater speed, demonstrating value for money in all of its activities. This includes asking the GCF to further improve its delivery for those countries most vulnerable to climate change, particularly Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Link: Prime Minister announces record climate aid commitment as G20 in India concludes
Source: Assent Information Services

UK agrees new strategic partnership with Singapore

  • The Prime Minister has signed a new strategic partnership with Singapore to grow the UK’s economy and enhance shared security.   
  • Agreement will harness the UK and Singapore’s expertise in new technologies like cyber and AI to create jobs in both our countries.  
  • Partnership follows agreements with countries including France, Japan and the US, as PM uses global relationships to deliver on the UK’s priorities.

The UK’s economy will be bolstered and our security strengthened under a new bilateral partnership with Singapore agreed by the Prime Minister today (Saturday 9th September).

The Prime Minister will meet Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the margins of the G20 Summit in India to sign a new UK-Singapore Strategic Partnership. This agreement will set the direction of UK-Singapore relations for the next decade, upgrading the UK’s trade and investment relationship with one of Southeast Asia’s leading economies in recognition of our shared expertise and interests in areas like technology and clean energy.

Following the Strategic Partnership, the UK and Singapore will work to conclude a new and modern bilateral investment treaty – the first the UK has negotiated since we left the EU. This will give Singaporean companies more confidence to invest in the UK and vice-versa, creating jobs and growing our economies.

Singapore is one of the UK’s closest and most dynamic partners in the region, with our £21 billion trade relationship accounting for 40% of our total trade with Southeast Asia. Singaporean entities have a total of £226 billion invested in the UK. Last year the UK and Singapore signed a first-of-its-kind Digital Economy Agreement, to help businesses in both our countries seize new trade opportunities.

In addition to enhanced economic cooperation, the new UK-Singapore Strategic Partnership will strengthen security cooperation, science and technology innovation, and research and development. This includes collaboration to counter new and emerging threats in domains like cyber, through a first of its kind partnership between Singapore’s new Digital and Intelligence Service and the UK.

The Prime Minister said:

I am totally committed to delivering on my priorities to halve inflation, grow the economy while reducing government debt, cut NHS waiting lists and stop the boats. But none of these priorities can be achieved without working with our international partners.

As Prime Minister, I’ve put the interests of the British people front and centre of my international engagement. I am ensuring that diplomacy delivers.

You have already seen that through deals that will stop illegal migration, make our economy more secure and increase trade with our international partners.

This new agreement with Singapore will take us even further in delivering our priorities and ensure that, as we map the future of the world economy, we are doing so alongside our closest partners.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has forged a number of new bilateral and multilateral partnerships which are already helping to deliver on the UK Government’s priorities.

This includes agreements with countries such as France, Albania and Turkey to stop illegal migration, the Hiroshima Accord with Japan and Atlantic Declaration with the United States which will strengthen our economy, and the AUKUS pact with Australia and the US to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

Earlier this year, the UK also became the first new country to accede to the CPTPP Pacific trade agreement. We are in the process of negotiating further free trade agreements, including a deal with India which would be the first the country has signed with a European country.

And on Thursday, the Prime Minister announced that UK scientists will have access to the world’s largest research collaboration programme, Horizon Europe, after he secured a bespoke deal with the EU.

In his engagements at the G20 today, the Prime Minister will stress the need for leaders in attendance to drive action on the biggest challenges facing the world, including stabilising the global economy and strengthening global security.

Link: UK agrees new strategic partnership with Singapore
Source: Assent Information Services

UK government sets out AI Safety Summit ambitions

  • First five objectives of the AI Safety Summit to be progressed shared by UK Government
  • UK will work closely with global partners to make frontier AI safe, and to ensure nations and citizens globally can realise its benefits
  • AI Safety Summit will bring together key countries, leading technology organisations, academia and civil society together

The UK government has today set out its ambitions for the AI Safety Summit which will take place on the 1st and 2nd November at Bletchley Park.

Secretary of State Michelle Donelan is this week launching the start of formal engagement prior to the summit as Jonathan Black and Matt Clifford, the Prime Minister’s Representatives for the AI Safety Summit, begin discussions with countries and some frontier AI organisations. This follows a roundtable hosted by the Secretary of State with a cross-section of civil society groups last week.

The AI Safety Summit will bring together key countries, as well as leading technology organisations, academia and civil society to inform rapid national and international action at the frontier of Artificial Intelligence (AI) development.

The summit will focus on risks created or significantly exacerbated by the most powerful AI systems, particularly those associated with the potentially dangerous capabilities of these systems. For example, this would include the proliferation of access to information which could undermine biosecurity. The summit will also focus on how safe AI can be used for public good and to improve people’s lives – from lifesaving medical technology to safer transport.

The summit will draw on a range of perspectives both prior to and at the event itself to inform these discussions. The UK looks forward to working closely with global partners on these issues to make frontier AI safe, and to ensure nations and citizens globally can realise its benefits, now and in the future. As part of an iterative and consultative process, the UK is now sharing the five objectives which will be progressed. These build upon initial stakeholder consultation and evidence-gathering and will frame the discussion at the summit:

  • a shared understanding of the risks posed by frontier AI and the need for action
  • a forward process for international collaboration on frontier AI safety, including how best to support national and international frameworks
  • appropriate measures which individual organisations should take to increase frontier AI safety
  • areas for potential collaboration on AI safety research, including evaluating model capabilities and the development of new standards to support governance
  • showcase how ensuring the safe development of AI will enable AI to be used for good globally

Accelerating AI investment, deployment and capabilities represent enormous opportunities for productivity and public good. The emergence of models with increasingly general capabilities, and step changes in accessibility and application, have created the prospect of up to $7 trillion in growth over the next 10 years and significantly faster drug discovery.

However, without appropriate guardrails, this technology also poses significant risks in ways that do not respect national boundaries. The need to address these risks, including at an international level, is increasingly urgent.

Individual countries, international organisations, businesses, academia and civil society are already taking forward critical work and driving international collaboration on AI including at the UN, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), Council of Europe, G7, G20 and standard development organisations. The summit will build on these important initiatives by agreeing practical next steps to address risks from frontier AI. This will include further discussions on how to operationalise risk-mitigation measures at frontier AI organisations, assessment of the most important areas for international collaboration to support safe frontier AI, and a roadmap for longer-term action.

Link: UK government sets out AI Safety Summit ambitions
Source: Assent Information Services

Small businesses benefitting more than ever from government business, new figures reveal

Small businesses won a record-breaking amount of government work, new figures released by the Cabinet Office reveal today (Tuesday 15 August).

The new figures, which underline the government’s commitment to helping SMEs benefit from government contracts show that UK small businesses received £21 billion worth of work in 2021/22. This equates to around £3.8k per British small business.

Government work won by small businesses range across all sectors, including public infrastructure – supporting building schools and hospitals, defence – developing high end technology to keep the country safe and healthcare – helping keep the country healthy through clinical, medical and digital health services, as well as many more.

The figure is an increase of £1.7bn on the previous year, and the highest since records began, representing the fifth consecutive year that government work won by small businesses has increased.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin said:

Today’s record-breaking figures demonstrate our commitment to ensure more small businesses benefit from public sector spending, by reducing barriers to entry and encouraging a more diverse market.

One in three pounds of public money is spent on public procurement, which is why through the Procurement Bill we are improving the way it is regulated to save the taxpayer money and drive benefits across every region of the country.

The news comes as the Minister of the Cabinet Office meets with SME supplier Wagtail in Flintshire, Wales later today. The company provides detection dogs and related services for government departments and agencies including the UK Border Force, HM Revenue & Customs, Police, Trading Standards and Armed Forces.

As well as seeing the benefits of innovative procurement practices in action, the Minister will see how the Procurement Bill will make it easier for small businesses, such as Wagtail, to win government contracts.

Under new rules all departments and public bodies will be required to consider SMEs when designing their procurements, meaning that more SMEs will get to compete for and win government contracts through simpler and more flexible regulations.

The new rules also include:

  • Greater visibility of upcoming work, giving SMEs more time to gear up for bidding
  • A new central platform showing future work in each area. This means for example a new SME tech firm in Lancashire will be able to search for tech opportunities upcoming in their region
  • Creating one single website to register on, rather than the multiple and time consuming systems SMEs currently have to register on before bidding for work
  • Reducing unnecessary insurance costs before a supplier has even bid for a contract
  • A new Competitive Flexible procedure, which will allow contracting authorities to design more innovation into the process.
  • Strengthening prompt payment, so that businesses throughout the public sector supply chain receive payment within 30 days

At the visit, the Minister will meet with Adam Vizard from Wagtail’s senior leadership team to learn about the business and its experience tendering for public contracts. He will also meet with the company’s professional dog trainers and operational handlers, observing demonstrations with a fully trained detection dog.

Notes to Editors:

  • Data on SME spending can be found here. An SME is generally defined as an organisation with fewer than 250 (FTE) employees and a set limit for annual turnover or balance sheet totals on their company accounts.

Link: Small businesses benefitting more than ever from government business, new figures reveal
Source: Assent Information Services

One-stop-shop to help businesses save money and go green

  • Business website offers new help for Britain’s 5.5 million SMEs to save on their energy bills while reducing their emissions
  • the hub will provide small businesses with advice on everything from paying less for EVs, getting a low-carbon heat pump, to generating green energy and selling it back to the grid to make money
  • comes as industry leaders and ministers on the new Net Zero Council call on all businesses from Aberystwyth to Aberdeen to develop net zero sector roadmaps

British businesses will be able to access brand new advice and support to reduce their energy bills while cutting their carbon emissions.

The UK Business Climate Hub launched today (14 August 2023) includes a free carbon calculator and a suite of new tools to help businesses measure, track and report on their emissions and save money by using less energy. It offers detailed advice on everything from sourcing products from green suppliers and reducing emissions from freight and logistics to the most cost-effective ways of installing solar panels and electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

Research shows that such measures can significantly save companies on their overheads. For example:

  • switching to EVs can not only cut running costs but also lower servicing and maintenance costs by around 40% compared to petrol or diesel cars
  • with up to half of companies’ overall electricity bill coming from lighting, making changes such as switching to LED bulbs can help shave up to 40% off bills
  • giving drivers fuel efficiency training can help save companies an average of 15% on fuel use and carbon emissions in transporting goods

The new support is aimed particularly at 5.5 million small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK, with business and industry accounting for around 25% of emissions. Research shows that 90% of SMEs are keen to tackle climate change, but find it difficult to know how or where to start to find the right solutions to reduce their carbon footprint.

Studies also show 85% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business with a reputation for sustainability, meaning going green can help grow the economy.

Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Graham Stuart, said:

The UK has cut its emissions more than any other major economy in the world. More and more businesses are recognising the business benefits of reaching net zero and we’re determined to empower them to do so.

The new UK Business Climate Hub is a one-stop-shop for businesses to find practical advice to reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills.

Whether it’s fitting a low-carbon heat pump, generating energy with solar panels, or reducing the emissions from shipping goods, the new support will ensure businesses can drive towards net zero.

The new UK Business Climate Hub serves as a one-stop-shop for businesses who have yet to start making changes, as well as those who are already taking action to reduce emissions but want to take things to the next level. As well as helping bosses measure and report on their emissions, the site provides advice and support on an array of things, including:

  • switching employee modes of transport and paying less for company EVs
  • getting business grants, green loans and financing for a retrofit
  • getting an air source heat pump
  • generating green energy with a wind turbine and selling it back to the grid
  • reducing emissions from farming and land use
  • buying credible carbon offsets
  • getting low-carbon product labels and certifications
  • reducing waste and recycling more

National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, Martin McTague, said:

We are pleased to have contributed to the new UK Business Climate Hub that will provide businesses with trusted tools and information to help them navigate the net zero transition.

SMEs recognise their role in net zero but many still find it challenging to access the relevant support and resources to play their part. This new official platform for advice and support will really help.

In addition to helping small firms become more energy and resource efficient, the hub also has the opportunity to empower small firms to take ambitious steps towards net zero, ultimately ensuring that they also benefit from the economic opportunities created in a net zero economy.

The new site is endorsed by business leaders and ministers on the new Net Zero Council and comes as the organisation calls on business representative organisations across the country to take concerted action to plan to reduce their members’ emissions.

The group, comprising CEOs from leading companies including Co-op, HSBC, Siemens and Cemex, have developed a new business roadmap framework to help empower businesses to work with others in their sector to create tailored action plans for their own industry to decarbonise.

These sector roadmaps would help companies the length and breadth of the country, from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth, and Penzance to Peterborough, to transition to net zero.

Co-Chair of the Net Zero Council, Co-op Group Chief Executive Shirine Khoury-Haq, said:

None of us will get to net zero without all of us getting to net zero, so ensuring that every business and every sector has a clear plan for delivering this non-negotiable target is key. I hope the UK Business Climate Hub will be a valuable tool for business leaders looking for guidance and support in this vital endeavour.

The framework, which has been endorsed by the Net Zero Council and that is being published today, is designed to support organisations working to articulate a credible roadmap to net zero on a sector by sector basis.

In 2020 the UK was estimated to already have over 400,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the country, with turnover at £41.6 billion. Over 80,000 green jobs are currently being supported or are in the pipeline because of new government policies since 2020, with that expected to increase to as many as nearly half a million by 2030.

Notes to editors

The new UK Business Climate Hub, which is being managed by the Broadway Initiative, has been developed in partnership with associations such as the Federation of Small Business and the Institute of Directors and with support so far from the British Business Bank, HSBC, NatWest, Electricity North West, Northern Powergrid and National Grid. It is the UK partner of the international SME Climate Hub.

Find out more about the new business roadmap framework, which has been developed in partnership with the Broadway Initiative.

The Net Zero Council aims to:

  • work to ensure sectors and companies have a pathway to net zero, including looking at the barriers and connections across sectors
  • lead a systematic review of the financing challenges and the respective roles of government, industry and the financial sector in addressing them
  • identify key challenges facing SMEs up and down the country in reducing their carbon footprints and supporting their transition with new information and advice

The research that 90% of SMEs are keen to tackle climate change comes from Sage and the International Chamber of Commerce.

The research on 85% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business with a reputation for sustainability comes from Economist Impact.

Link: One-stop-shop to help businesses save money and go green
Source: Assent Information Services

UK Government announces extension of CE mark recognition for businesses

  • Business department announces indefinite CE mark recognition beyond 2024 deadline
  • As part of the government’s drive for smarter regulation, the extension will cut business costs and time required to place products on the market and benefit consumers
  • Follows extensive engagement with industry, delivering on a key ask from businesses to ease burdens and boost growth for the UK economy

The Department for Business and Trade has today announced an indefinite extension to the use of CE marking for UK businesses.

This comes as part of a wider package of smarter regulations designed to ease business burdens and help grow the economy by cutting barriers and red tape. Following extensive engagement with industry, British firms will be able to continue the use of CE marking alongside UKCA.

The Business Secretary acted urgently on this issue, to prevent a cliff-edge moment in December 2024 when UKCA was set for entry. This intervention will ensure businesses no longer face uncertainty over the regulations and can cut back on unnecessary costs freeing them up to focus on innovation and growth.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

The Government is tackling red tape, cutting burdens for business, and creating certainty for firms – we have listened to industry, and we are taking action to deliver.

By extending CE marking use across the UK, firms can focus their time and money on creating jobs and growing the economy.

Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said:

It’s welcome to see the continued recognition of CE marked products. This will allow time for small firms to adjust to the UKCA marking system and focus on growing their business both at home and overseas.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation said:

This is a pragmatic and common sense decision that manufacturers will very much welcome and support. This announcement will help safeguard the competitiveness of manufacturers and aid the UK as a destination for investment.

It should bring more confidence about doing business in the UK and recognises the need to work with the reality of doing business. Make UK has worked extensively with UK Government pushing hard for this decision and we are pleased the ongoing engagement has delivered this positive outcome.

The extension will provide businesses with flexibility and choice to use either the UKCA or CE approach to sell products in Great Britain.

Link: UK Government announces extension of CE mark recognition for businesses
Source: Assent Information Services

UK and Singapore Enhance Cooperation in Sustainable Finance and FinTech

London, 27 July 2023… The United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore held the 8th UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue in London yesterday. The Dialogue facilitated a useful exchange of views, and identified opportunities for further collaboration on joint projects, in priority areas such as sustainable finance and FinTech and innovation.

Sustainable Finance

Both countries agreed on the urgent need to develop approaches that facilitate and scale financing to support the transition of economies to net zero.

A. Transition Finance:

The UK and Singapore agreed that globally comparable and transparent transition plans that include credible forward-looking information can help reduce fragmentation, scale transition finance, and support sustainability in finance more generally. Both countries recognised the value of increased cooperation on transition plans to mobilise real economy emission reductions. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) provided updates on Singapore’s focus on scaling blended finance and addressing energy transition needs in Asia, MAS’ Finance for Net Zero Action Plan (FiNZ Action Plan) and initiatives to mobilise green and transition financing to catalyse Asia’s net zero transition. The UK provided updates on the Transition Plan Taskforce’s (TPT) work to finalise its disclosure framework and the TPT’s international engagement with governments and regulators on the international applicability of the framework alongside the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (ISSB) final standards.

B. International standards:

The UK and Singapore re-affirmed their continued support for a global framework of sustainability disclosures based on the ISSB final standards for general reporting on sustainability and for climate-related disclosures. Both countries are committed to implementing globally interoperable sustainability disclosures. Both sides also welcomed the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) endorsement of the ISSB’s standards. It was recognised that a global framework for transition and sustainability disclosure standards is necessary to promote a simple, consistent, and effective regulatory environment for firms, regulators, and financial authorities. Both the UK and Singapore agreed to support the ISSB in implementing the standards and reaching its goal of achieving globally interoperable disclosure standards by, for example, supporting capacity building efforts and sharing experiences. Both countries also exchanged views on their respective Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data and ratings codes of conduct which have been published for consultation[1]. The UK and Singapore agreed to explore how to deepen bilateral cooperation and promote global coordination and common expectations.

C. Nature and Biodiversity:

The UK and Singapore re-affirmed the need to deepen the understanding of nature and biodiversity loss and its impact on the financial sector. Both countries welcomed an upcoming joint research project on nature-related financial risks in Southeast Asia involving the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the Singapore Green Finance Centre, which is co-managed by Imperial College Business School and Singapore Management University (SMU). The UK shared its efforts to quantify UK’s financial and economic risks from exposure to nature degradation through the work by the UK’s Green Finance Institute with support of the Bank of England (BoE) and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The UK provided an update on the latest developments from the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), ahead of the final publication of the TNFD framework in September 2023.

FinTech and Innovation

The UK and Singapore exchanged views on the latest developments on their respective work in the digital space.

A. Crypto and Digital Assets:

The UK and Singapore agreed to contribute to efforts to develop global regulatory standards for crypto and digital assets as part of international standard setting bodies such as IOSCO, and working groups under the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and welcomed the FSB recommendations on crypto-assets including stablecoins. The UK provided an update on its approach and industry feedback on the Future Financial Services Regulatory Regime for Crypto-assets consultation[2], and the regulatory rules for marketing crypto-assets[3]. Singapore shared its perspectives on regulatory developments on stablecoins and consumer protection measures for Digital Payment Token Services[4].

B. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC):

The UK and Singapore held a productive discussion on their respective approaches towards CBDC, with the UK updating on the “Digital Pound” consultation and plans for the current design phase. Singapore shared its approach towards exploring use cases for a digital Singapore Dollar, and efforts that are being undertaken to foster interoperability[5]. Singapore also provided an update on its exploration of wholesale CBDC[6] for cross-border foreign exchange settlement. Both countries will continue discussions and share insights and experiences.

C. Project Guardian:

Singapore shared the latest developments on its private-public sector collaborative initiative to test the potential and feasibility of asset tokenisation. Both countries agreed to consider future collaboration opportunities in this area.

D. E-Wallets:

The UK welcomed the outcome of MAS’ review of e-wallet caps, including the increase to the relevant limits imposed on e-wallets[7].

Cross-border Arrangement for selected Trading Venues

The UK provided an update on the cross-border arrangements between the UK and Singapore for exchanging information in relation to derivatives trading venues, which concerns (i) the UK’s and Singapore’s derivatives trading obligations; and (ii) the classification of regulated markets for the purpose of Exchange Traded Derivatives trading. Both countries acknowledged the value of continued cooperation to support the G20 OTC derivatives reforms.

The UK and Singapore renewed their commitment to engagement beyond the Dialogue through a series of roadmap engagements. Further cooperation was agreed on Sustainable Finance and FinTech and Innovation ahead of the next Financial Dialogue due to be held in Singapore in 2024.

An industry-led UK-Singapore business roundtable on sustainable finance took place on 25 July 2023. Industry participants discussed the financing opportunities and challenges in meeting net zero targets, and how the financial industry could help to address these.

The Dialogue was jointly chaired by Deputy Managing Director (Markets and Development) of MAS, Mr Leong Sing Chiong, and Director General (Financial Services) of HM Treasury (HMT), Ms Gwyneth Nurse. The Dialogue was attended by senior officials from MAS, HMT, BoE, Financial Conduct Authority, the High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in London, and the British High Commission in Singapore.

About the Monetary Authority of Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s central bank and integrated financial regulator. As a central bank, MAS promotes sustained, non-inflationary economic growth through the conduct of monetary policy and close macroeconomic surveillance and analysis. It manages Singapore’s exchange rate, official foreign reserves, and liquidity in the banking sector. As an integrated financial supervisor, MAS fosters a sound financial services sector through its prudential oversight of all financial institutions in Singapore – banks, insurers, capital market intermediaries, financial advisors and financial market infrastructures. It is also responsible for well-functioning financial markets, sound conduct, and investor education. MAS also works with the financial industry to promote Singapore as a dynamic international financial centre. It facilitates the development of infrastructures, adoption of technology, and upgrading of skills in the financial industry.

About HM Treasury

HM Treasury is the UK government’s economic and finance ministry, maintaining control over public spending, setting the direction of the UK’s economic policy and working to achieve strong and sustainable economic growth.

The department is responsible for:

  • public spending: including departmental spending, public sector pay and pension, annually managed expenditure (AME) and welfare policy, and capital investment;
  • financial services policy: including banking and financial services regulation, financial stability, and ensuring competitiveness in the City;
  • strategic oversight of the UK tax system: including direct, indirect, business, property, personal tax, and corporation tax;
  • the delivery of infrastructure projects across the public sector and facilitating private sector investment into UK infrastructure; and
  • ensuring the economy is growing sustainably

[1] MAS launched its Consultation Paper on Proposed Code of Conduct for ESG Rating and Data Product Providers on 28 June 2023, and the UK ESG Data and Ratings Code of Conduct Working Group (DRWG) published the Draft Voluntary Code of Conduct for ESG Ratings and Data Product Providers for consultation on 5 July 2023.

[2] HM Treasury Consultation and call for evidence published in February 2023

[3] FCA introduces tough new rules for marketing crypto-assets

[4] MAS Publishes Investor Protection Measures for Digital Payment Token Services

[5] MAS proposes standards for digital money

[6] MAS Launches Expanded Initiative to Advance Cross-Border Connectivity in Wholesale CBDCs

[7] MAS Response to Consultation on Proposed Amendments to Restrictions on Personal Payment Accounts that Contain E-Money

Link: UK and Singapore Enhance Cooperation in Sustainable Finance and FinTech
Source: Assent Information Services

Boost for British businesses as UK and Indonesia pledge to grow trade ties

  • UK and Indonesia conclude second annual Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), aimed at boosting trade ties, in London
  • Unlocks potential for UK businesses to sell more to Indonesia, which is set to become seventh largest economy in the world by 2050
  • Minister for International Trade Nigel Huddleston and Indonesian Vice Minister for Trade Dr Jerry Sambuaga agreed in the meeting to grow digital trade and continue to focus on renewable energy opportunities.

The UK and Indonesia have today [Thursday 20 July] held the second Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) to help grow trade between the two countries – already worth £3.5 billion a year.

With a population of 275 million, Indonesia is the largest South East Asian nation and economy and presents huge opportunities for UK businesses. Its rapidly growing economy is forecast to reach the world’s top ten by 2035 and be its seventh largest by 2050. The JETCO was launched in 2022 to help promote and develop trade.

At today’s meeting, Minister for International Trade Nigel Huddleston and Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Trade Dr Jerry Sambuaga agreed to establish a working group on the digital economy and develop renewable energy opportunities – two areas of key interest for UK businesses.

International Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

Indonesia has an incredibly exciting economy. We’re ready to deepen our trade ties with this growing economic powerhouse by opening exciting new opportunities for UK businesses selling to Indonesia.

We are playing to our strengths, focusing our attention on areas of mutual benefit like digital trade. Making trade easier in these areas will provide a boon to our world-leading services industries.

The UK is the second largest exporter of services in the world and the majority of these were delivered by digital means. Easing digital trade could unleash growth in UK services exports, already worth £658 million to Indonesia last year.

In discussions today, Minister Huddleston also highlighted opportunities for increased collaboration in areas such as food and drink, agriculture, education services, Indonesia’s energy transition, legal services and fintech.

The UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) provides awareness on the latest opportunities in the region and facilitates trade and investment content delivery for UK companies looking to expand their operations into markets across Southeast Asia.

The Rt Hon the Lord Vaizey of Didcot, Chair of the UK-ASEAN Business Council, said:

Indonesia’s increasingly tech-savvy population and a growing middle class make it an incredibly attractive market for UK businesses. The UK-ASEAN Business Council is committed to supporting the growth of the UK-Indonesia trading relationship, by working with both governments to promote the tremendous number of trade and investment opportunities it has to offer.

Annual bilateral trade between the UK and Indonesia is growing, with trade up 33% in current prices in 2022 on the previous year. By working together to address barriers to trade we have the potential to increase trade, grow both economies, and give UK businesses better access to a significant and thriving market.

Paul Dyson, CEO Crossrail International (CI) said:

This JETCO is testament to the close bond between the UK and Indonesia. Indeed, Crossrail International have a strong trading relationship with Indonesia and are proud to be offering advice and providing support to their Ministry of Transport on two nationally significant rail projects – Jabodebek LRT and HSR Bandung to Jakarta.


  • The JETCO was first launched in 2022 to boost trade and investment and remove obstacles affecting UK businesses trading with Indonesia.
  • The first UK-Indonesia JETCO established working groups on renewable energy and clean growth, and on agriculture, food and drink.

Link: Boost for British businesses as UK and Indonesia pledge to grow trade ties
Source: Assent Information Services