Problems with skills, infrastructure and access to finance are all hindering export growth in the UK and as a nation we are slow to spot and exploit new markets and have too few exporting companies. This was the message from the British Chambers Of Commerce (BCC)’s director general John Longworth, who speaking at the BCC International Trade Conference in London earlier this week.
Longworth told delegates that the UK was not living up to a challenge on exports set by the government three years ago. “By British Chambers calculations, we’re 14 years behind meeting the target of £1 trillion in annual exports, despite standout performances by so many individual companies,” he said.
He added that government has its own part to play, noting that it “must fix the fundamentals here at home, use its own global network to spot the next wave of opportunities, and make sure that British trade is not saddled with unnecessary costs and barriers, whether in the UK or markets overseas.”
Speaking at the same event, trade and investment minister Lord Maude announced that next week the government will launch Exporting Is Great – “the biggest [State-sponsored] export campaign ever.” UK Trade & Investment will hold its Export Week from 9-13 November. There will be a varied series of events all over the UK, aimed at helping businesses either to start their export journey or increase their international business. UKTI research suggests that on average companies earn £100K in additional sales within 18 months of working with the agency.