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Global Trade Venture: England and Scotland

July 14, 2022
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With a GDP of $2.7 trillion in 2020, the United Kingdom is the world’s sixth-largest economy. After shrinking amid the pandemic, the economy grew by 7% in 2021, and is expected to log positive growth again in 2022. The UK is an attractive market for Wisconsin exporters, not only as a large and sophisticated market but also as one that is recognized for its ease of doing business—particularly for U.S. companies, with longstanding relationships, close cultural links, a shared language and strong trade links across multiple sectors.

In 2021, U.S. exports to the UK totaled $61 billion; of this total, $722 million came from Wisconsin. The UK is the sixth-largest export market for Wisconsin products, and there is still room for growth in the market. From Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, 2022, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will be leading a Global Trade Venture to the England and Scotland, with stops in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Wisconsin exporters seeking to enter this market or grow their exports in this market are encouraged to enroll. This trade venture is suitable for both experienced exporters and companies that are new
to exporting.

This program includes stops in three important UK business centers, each with its own unique features. In each city, participants will be scheduled for  customized one-on-one meetings with prospective partners in the market. These partners are chosen specifically for each participating company based on the company’s business needs and objectives. Each participant in the global trade venture will also receive a market intelligence report specific to his or her company, detailing considerations to keep in mind when introducing the company’s product or service into the British market. WEDC has eyes and ears on
the ground in the UK, in the form of an authorized trade representative based there— thus making it easier for Wisconsin companies to find local partners they can trust, and taking some of the guesswork out of launching in a new market. Traveling as part of a trade venture also provides the opportunity for peer-to-peer networking and sharing of experiences and business connections among participants.

The UK’s departure from the European Union (informally known as “Brexit”) has prompted UK companies to reevaluate their sourcing strategies, creating opportunities for Wisconsin companies. Traditionally, Britain’s strong manufacturing base has attracted Wisconsin industrial machinery suppliers and advanced manufacturing companies, particularly those serving the aerospace, defense and security sectors. Current trends have British partners seeking out Wisconsin companies in life sciences, water technology and the service industries. Given the strengths of Wisconsin and the target market, companies that make the following are especially encouraged to participate in the trade venture: machine tools, engines, electric power equipment, automation equipment, agricultural equipment, railroad equipment, aircraft and aircraft components, motor vehicles and parts, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, electronics
and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing and other consumer goods, renewable energy, high-end engineering software and financial technology.


It may be tempting to think of doing business in the UK as “the same” as doing  business in the U.S., but this is a different market with its own business norms and regulations, currency and logistical issues. Participating in this Global Trade Venture will allow Wisconsin companies to observe these differences firsthand and build trust by meeting potential partners face to face and demonstrating their commitment to the market. In addition to the three main cities visited, participants can set meetings in other UK locations within driving or train distance, and the trade office’s research will cover all of England and Scotland when searching for potential partners for participating Wisconsin companies.

With a population of 8.9 million (and an additional 5 million in the greater metro area), London is the UK capital and one of the world’s leading sites for attracting foreign investment. It excels in a myriad of industries and is one of the world’s largest financial centers.

Manchester’s population in the city proper is just 554,000, but the greater metropolitan area is home to 2.8 million. The city has a strong reputation for advanced manufacturing and innovation, Manchester is a UK logistics hub and excels in financial services, construction, retail, real estate, business services, public administration, education and health.

The largest city in Scotland, Glasgow (population 612,000) has emerged from a period of post-industrial decline at the end of the 20th century and is now a formidable force in advanced manufacturing, technology and culture. The greater metropolitan area’s population is about 1.8 million—about one-quarter of Scotland’s entire population. Manufacturing in general and shipbuilding in particular continue to be key strengths in Glasgow, while financial and business services, communications, biosciences, creative industries, health care, higher education, retail and tourism have become more prominent in the city’s economy over the past few decades.

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