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Children Around the World Enjoy British-made gifts this Christmas

This Christmas, children around the world are unwrapping British-made gifts, thanks in part to the United Kingdom’s new free trade agreements (FTAs) that have facilitated the export of children’s presents globally.

The UK, often referred to as one of “Santa’s biggest workshops,” is a significant manufacturing nation, and the toy and bicycle sectors are contributing to this success story. According to the latest figures, exports of toys and bikes were valued at £640 million in the year ending October 2023.

Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have shown a strong interest in British-made products, with approximately £36 million worth of toys exported to these nations in 2022. Thanks to the UK’s FTAs, these countries can easily access world-class British products.

Furthermore, the UK recently signed an agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major trade bloc in the Indo-Pacific. Membership in the CPTPP will enable tariff-free trade for over 99% of current UK goods exports, including toys and bikes, to CPTPP member countries.

Minister for International Trade Greg Hands expressed pride in the UK’s manufacturing prowess, stating, “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.”

He further highlighted the role of post-Brexit trade agreements in aiding British companies in providing Christmas gifts to countries like Australia and New Zealand this year.

One notable success story is Welsh-based Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles, which manufactures and sells sustainable bubbles. The company has witnessed a substantial increase in sales, with exports now reaching £30,000 annually and poised for further growth next year. The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) played a crucial role in Dr. Zigs’ expansion, enabling access to a new distributor in Australia.

Welcoming the support from FTAs, Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles CEO Paola Dyboski stated, “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.”

Traditional soft toys have also experienced a surge in exports to FTA countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, and Mexico. Merrythought, a Shropshire-based teddy bear manufacturer, has benefited from the UK-Australia trade deal, which reduced import duties on goods like stuffed toys from 4% to 0%. This development is expected to build upon Merrythought’s remarkable 600% increase in sales over the past four years.

Merrythought Managing Director Sarah Holmes expressed her satisfaction, saying, “As a traditional manufacturer of the finest teddy bears… we are pleased to have access to free trade within the CPTPP bloc.”

Frog Bikes, based in Ascot and known for designing and manufacturing lightweight children’s bikes in Wales, is another UK company exporting to CPTPP countries. Bicycle exports from the UK to Singapore have surged by 255% over the last five years, totalling nearly £4 million in current prices. Frog Bikes is committed to expanding its sales to CPTPP countries ahead of the deal coming into force.

Frog Bikes Chief Frog and Export Champion Jerry Lawson stated, “Our journey at Frog Bikes has been one of constant evolution and expansion… 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.”

These success stories highlight the impact of FTAs and international collaborations, ensuring that British-made children’s gifts find their way into the hands of youngsters worldwide, spreading joy during the holiday season.

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