Infrastructure Exports UK (IE:UK) is playing a key role in helping to boost UK firms’ chances of winning large infrastructure projects overseas, says minister for exports and IE:UK co-chair, Mike Freer MP.
Following COP26 and the agreement of the Glasgow Climate Pact, governments around the globe are turning their attention to sustainable infrastructure. UK companies lead the world in this space, and their expertise can help ensure that all countries are able to develop the high-quality infrastructure that is needed to both meet net zero and adapt to the changes that will happen over the coming decades.
It is no coincidence that the UK’s first ever International Trade Week has followed immediately from COP. Throughout the week, there were a series of exciting events designed to help UK businesses sell globally and connect with trade industry experts. I also had the opportunity to join my first Infrastructure Exports UK (IE:UK) board meeting, a partnership between industry and government focussing on bringing companies together through a ‘Team UK’ offer.
IE:UK ensures the full range of UK expertise is available and boosts our chances of winning large infrastructure projects overseas. I hope International Trade Week has given UK infrastructure companies the inspiration, advice and confidence to take the next steps to grow their business and export, including through IE:UK.
What is IE:UK?
Minister for exports, Mike Freer MP.
IE:UK is a partnership between government and industry to help UK companies form consortia and improve their chances of winning major international infrastructure projects as one ‘Team UK’. The IE:UK board provides a forum to discuss UK appetite and strength in markets with strong infrastructure pipelines, ensuring a joined-up national approach.
The companies engaging with IE:UK employ around 200,000 people from across the UK, have extensive experience working on the world’s largest infrastructure projects and represent a range of professions from finance to construction.
IE:UK’s renewed strategy introduces a market-driven approach, with increased industry participation and targeted support from government, identifying priority markets suited to UK capabilities. IE:UK seeks to position the UK as the delivery partner of choice for large and complex infrastructure projects. With a reputation for innovation, collaboration and quality, the UK is well placed to lead the way for clean, resilient and ambitious infrastructure solutions worldwide.
IE:UK is currently working in a handful of markets within Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Southeast Asia; exploring specific opportunities in future cities, railway stations, integrating quality of life solutions in education, healthcare and sport, with sustainability and resilience at its heart.
Making a difference through international trade
The value of UK industry and government coming together on infrastructure is exemplified in the Peru reconstruction programme. Following severe damage caused by El Niño in 2017, the UK was chosen as Peru's partner to support the development and delivery of a reconstruction programme which remains critical to Peru's economic recovery. This partnership recognises the UK's vast experience in the management of complex infrastructure projects and highlights the value of UK businesses collaborating with local supply chains.
The last year has seen significant progress in each of IE:UK’s priority markets, with UK industry working in collaboration with government to unlock key opportunities, especially in the rail and sports infrastructure sectors. Close collaboration between government and industry will be essential in driving forward an export-led recovery, so I am delighted that DIT colleagues and the IE:UK board are working in partnership to deliver our ambitions.
As we move into a new era for ‘Global Britain’, IE:UK will play a key role in helping us deliver our ambitious trade objectives, from building strong, robust, and mutually beneficial economic partnerships to backing up our trade agreement programme with tangible export wins that establish UK companies in new export markets. The government is committed to supporting UK businesses maximise their export potential. IE:UK brings the benefits of synergy and renowned global expertise to our partners, whilst making the most of local expertise and skills.
IE:UK seeks to promote and deliver business for UK companies under the one ‘Team UK’ approach. If you believe your business could benefit from collaborating with IE:UK to form innovative offers for international infrastructure needs, please get in touch with us at: IEUK@trade.gov.uk
This article was written in collaboration with Mark Holmes, IE:UK co-chair and deputy chairman of Mace Group.