MADE IN UK: Children around the world enjoy British-made gifts this Christmas

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"Joining CPTPP will add even more economic clout to this exciting and dynamic trade alliance, helping it grow to £11 trillion or from 12 to 15% of global GDP" - Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands.

Latest figures show toy and bike exports are worth £640 million, with CPTPP membership to make it even easier for British businesses to export children’s presents to the region next Christmas.

British toy and bike manufacturers are currently making gifts to load on Santa’s sleigh for delivery all round the world, in part thanks to the UK’s new free trade agreements (FTAs).   

The UK is a major manufacturing nation, making us one of “Santa’s biggest workshops”. The toy sector is part of that success story – exports of toys and bikes were worth £640 million in the year ending October 2023.  

Australia, New Zealand and Japan are just some of the countries snapping up British-made products, with around £36 million of toys exported to these countries in 2022. Thanks to our FTAs it’s even easier for people in those countries to buy world-class British products.  

The UK also recently signed a deal to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major trade bloc in the Indo-Pacific. Joining CPTPP means that over 99% of current UK goods exports, including toys and bikes, to CPTPP members will be eligible for tariff-free trade. 

Minister for International Trade Greg Hands said:

The UK is world-renowned for its high-quality products and manufacturing prowess, so it’s no surprise the UK is one of Santa’s biggest workshops, with British-made presents flying off the shelves to fill stockings around the world.  

I’m delighted our post-Brexit trade agreements are making it easier for British companies to help Santa check off Christmas lists in Australia and New Zealand this year.

Welsh-based Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles, who manufacture and sell sustainable bubbles, has seen a huge increase in sales, with exports now at £30,000 a year and set to grow next year.  

There has been a huge demand for Dr Zigs products in Australia, so much so that they will soon be sold on Amazon Australia. This was made possible by the UK-Australia FTA which helped them to access a new distributor. Dr Zigs’ next shipment of products will be going out to Australia just in time for Christmas. 

Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles CEO and Export Champion Paola Dyboski said:

We’re proud to be exporting our UK made toys across the world. We’re very busy working on Santa’s orders and making sure that our toys are in stores for Spring/Summer ‘24, including new inventions. 

Wherever possible we make full use of existing trade agreements, specifically with Australia. This simplified system really helps financially and in terms of bureaucracy. We hope to see the same benefits for the CPTPP countries we export to.  

We’ve just come back from the New York Toy Fair and are now preparing to exhibit at the world-famous Spielwarenmesse, one of the biggest toy fairs in the world! The funding we receive from DBT is a huge enabler for small UK companies to be visible on a global stage.

Traditional soft toys aren’t being left behind either. Over the last year, this sector has seen large increases in exports to FTA countries including Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Mexico. 

This is great news for Merrythought, a Shropshire-based company making and selling teddy bears to countries around the world including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Following the introduction of the UK-Australia trade deal earlier this year, import duties on goods like stuffed toys have been cut from 4% to 0%, which will help Merrythought build on their already huge 600% increase in sales over the last four years. 

Merrythought Managing Director Sarah Holmes said:

As a traditional manufacturer of the finest teddy bears – the only one of our kind in the UK – we are pleased to have access to free trade within the CPTPP bloc, and with the support of DBT, we hope to continue increasing our sales, particularly in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. 

Ascot-based Frog Bikes, who design and manufacture lightweight children’s bikes in Wales, are just one of the many UK companies exporting to CPTPP countries including Singapore, where bicycle exports from the UK have increased by a whopping 255% (almost £4 million in current prices) over the last five years. 

Exports make up 45% of Frog Bikes sales, and they have plans to go even further. With over 50 countries already on their exporting list, they plan to expand sales to CPTPP countries ahead of the deal coming into force. 

Frog Bikes Chief Frog and Export Champion Jerry Lawson said: 

Our journey at Frog Bikes has been one of constant evolution and expansion. We envision expanded exports to countries like Singapore and Canada, anticipating the benefits of CPTPP. 

The support from DBT and the Welsh Government has been invaluable, solidifying our presence in Norway and facilitating our US launch in 2016. 

As we continue to leverage these opportunities and collaborations, Frog Bikes remains committed to fostering fair trade agreements, protecting local manufacturing, and ensuring sustainable practices within the cycling industry.

Source: Department for Business and Trade and The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP

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