Press release: 26 July 2004
Thanks to support and advice from UK Trade & investment’s Passport to export programme, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, based in Stevenage, in partnership with British Standards Institution (BSI), based in Hemel Hempstead, are taking forward their international trade strategy in Kuwait.
The Commercial Training Department of Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service and BSI hosted an inward delegation of key representatives from the Kuwait Fire Service who are seeking an appropriate source and basis for approving their fire protection and safety equipment. The Kuwait Fire Service witnessed product-testing demonstrations of fire protection equipment, including extinguishers, and learned more about the regulations and protection methods used in high-rise buildings in the UK.
With support from UK Trade & Investment’s Passport to Export programme and one to one advice from Stephen Scowcroft, UK Trade & Investment’s regional sector specialist for education and training, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service and BSI have reinforced their commitment to addressing opportunities outside the UK.
Accelerating plans for working overseas
Stephen Scowcroft, Regional Sector Specialist for Education & Training, UK Trade & Investment (based at Business Link Hertfordshire), said: "Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service were ripe for the Passport to Export programme and had a real desire to develop an international trade strategy. They were looking for advice and support to boost their international trade confidence and ensure they were approaching it in the right way. Tapping into the expertise of UK Trade & Investment in both the training and fire sectors has enabled Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service to accelerate their plans for working overseas.
"As an organisation they have a wealth of experience to offer countries who want to develop their own skills and knowledge in this area. I would encourage other training providers to develop their international trade because the UK is highly regarded in terms of education. There are many opportunities available and our expertise in the region can help you target those effectively.
"Strategic partnerships are important, especially for small companies that do not have the resources or the capacity to do a lot of business on their own. But formulising a partnership, such as that between BSI and Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, is a sure way of boosting operations overseas and building on the strengths of each organisation."
With a knowledgebase of over 1100 specialised staff, the Commercial Training Department of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service offers a wide-ranging portfolio of training within the health and safety sector, as well as training for disaster control, the development of fire risk assessments and evacuation procedures
Chris Martindale, Business Development Manager of Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: "This visit offered a unique opportunity to make in-roads into overseas markets and establish business contacts in the Middle East. The guidance given to us by Stephen Scowcroft has enabled us to identify potential training opportunities and business development within foreign markets."
Benefits to international markets of Kitemark certification
Paul Gemmell of the British Standards Institution (BSI), said: "We view the Gulf region as an area of strategic importance in terms of business development. The visit of the Kuwaiti Fire Service provided us with the opportunity to demonstrate to senior officials our expertise in the high-risk fire sector, the importance of product quality and the benefits to international markets of our Kitemark certification schemes.
"For over 100 years organisations have used the strength and heritage of Kitemark as an independent endorsement of their products quality and safety.
"The Kuwait Fire Service is seeking standards criteria and compliance levels for their fire products. By adopting the established BSI Kitemark model in Kuwait, specifiers, buyers, designers and architects could influence the desired improvements in standardisation, quality and safety."
Mr Abdullah Al Mashaan, Head of Fire Protection Approvals, Kuwait Fire Service, said: "We are keen to establish links between the UK and Kuwait Fire Services and to build on this business relationship. The Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and BSI have really demonstrated today their strength and expertise in their field."
Note to editors
Facts and figures on Kuwait
- In 2003 the value of fire safety related products exported from the UK to Kuwait was £1.73 million. These products included fire extinguishers and fire alarms;
- Kuwait, a member of OPEC, holds 10 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, at 96.5 billion barrels;
- The value of goods exported to Kuwait from the UK in 2003 was £381 million;
- The value of goods imported into the UK from Kuwait was £342 million;
- Kuwait is the UK’s third largest trading partner in the Gulf;
- British exports to Kuwait cover a number of sectors, including industrial and electrical machinery, transport, clothing and other consumables. Services include consultancy, aviation and shipping.
- Photographs of the visit by the Kuwait Fire Service to Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service and BSI are available via email. Please contact GNN East, 01223 372791.
- UK Trade & Investment is the government organisation that provides integrated support services for UK companies engaged in overseas trade and foreign businesses focused on the UK as an inward investment location. It brings together the work of teams in 200 British embassies and FCO posts overseas and government departments across Whitehall. In England, UK Trade & Investment services are delivered through the 45 Business Links and other partners including Regional Development Agencies and Chambers of Commerce, coordinated by nine regional International Trade Directors. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own arrangements for local delivery of services. For more information visit the web site www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk or www.exporteastofengland.org.uk
- UK Trade & Investment services are available to companies through the network of Business Link organisations which each have a dedicated International Trade Team. Visit the regional website: www.exporteastofengland.org.uk or contact your local International Trade Team for further details:
- In the East of England UK Trade & Investment, through the International Trade Teams, have over 350 companies going through the Passport process. The region’s current customer satisfaction rate level for the programme is 95% (national average 89%) with 57% of expressing a very satisfied rating (national average 46%) – figures from an independent audit completed in June 2003.
Issued on behalf of UK Trade & Investment by GNN East.