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Series of seminars planned to help struggling SMEs trade overseas

As a survey reveals UK businesses are still struggling to trade overseas, Somerset Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with experts from International Trade Matters to host a series of workshops to help firms tackle the challenges of the import and export markets.

In a recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce, SME exporters reported that trade was continuing to languish as the global economy headed into another difficult year. Global shipping and trading systems are still not operating normally post pandemic, while firms face rising cost pressures and increased red tape.

International Trade Matters (ITM) has a long-standing relationship with the British Chambers of Commerce and wider Chamber network, offering bespoke training programmes and webinars to help businesses make the most of opportunities and overcome barriers to overseas growth.

From March, experts from ITM will be hosting a series of online training workshops with Somerset Chamber of Commerce focusing on import procedures, understanding exporting, customs procedures and export documentation.

Emma Rawlings, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber network has long offered businesses access to a team of international trade experts, but we wanted to give firms the opportunity for additional support as we know trading conditions are particularly challenging at the moment.”

The workshops are designed to give firms an introduction to the practicalities of international trade, from the role of HMRC to the classification and valuation of goods and importance of documentation.

Linda Middleton-Jones, Managing Director, of ITM added: “Trading is beset by supply chain issues, changes in regulations, the fall in the value of the Pound and the energy crisis. There is a constant state of flux as the transition from HMRC’s Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF ) system is replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), affecting companies and Chambers alike.”

The first workshop will take place on March 8 and focus on export documentation, followed by a second on understanding exporting on March 21. Another export documentation workshop will take place on May 2 with an import procedures event planned for May 17. Further online workshops are scheduled for June, September, November and December.

For more information, contact Somerset Chamber of Commerce on 01823 444924, email or view the upcoming events listings on the Chamber website at

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