International Trade Challenges and the Effectiveness of Support Measures for the UK’s Creative Industries

20 October 2023

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Prof Jun Du, 

Prof Jun Du

Professor of Economics, Aston Business School

Dr Oleksandr Shepotylo, 

Dr Oleksandr Shepotylo

Senior Lecturer, Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship, Aston Business School

Dr Meng Song

Dr Meng Song

Lecturer in International Business at Leeds University Business School

The formidable challenges confronting the UK's creative industries in the realm of exports, stemming from the convergence of Covid-19 and the conclusion of the EU transition period, reached their apex in the early months of 2021.

This comprehensive analysis of export disruptions and the heterogeneity of firms in 2021 employs the ONS’s Business Insights and Conditions (BICS) Surveys data and offers seven pivotal insights into the turbulence faced by the UK's creative industries: prevalence of disruption, uncertainty, impact of Brexit, leading export challenges, sectoral disparities, firm resilience, and policy support.

These findings underscore the urgency of instituting comprehensive trade policies and measures to dismantle the barriers obstructing the UK's creative industries. Collaborative efforts between the UK and the EU are indispensable, with the sharing of invaluable lessons and best practices. Policy recommendations include:

1. Tailored EU export support: customised support for firms exporting to the EU, with a special focus on small businesses grappling with new requirements and administrative complexities

2. Export decision facilitation: providing tailor-made advice to assist creative firms in their export decisions, proffering market intelligence and strategic guidance.

3. Reviving export activities: the creation of digital resources and advisory programs to inspire and assist former exporters in resuming their international trade.

4. Igniting innovation: showcasing success stories of creative enterprises exploring new export avenues and fostering knowledge-sharing within the industry.

5. Regulatory conformity: sustaining alignment with the EU on matters such as intellectual property, product standards, sustainability, and data protection.

In addition, broadening the scope of trade support organisations with aligned objectives, and fostering collaboration with diverse entities will be crucial to maximise the effectiveness in aiding firms grappling with multifaceted challenges that extend beyond mere technical export difficulties. By addressing these issues collectively, the economy can fortify the resilience and global competitiveness of the UK's creative industries.

Photo credit: Alina Grubnyak via Unsplash