A new export strategy from the UK government aims to boost total exports to 35% as a proportion of GDP.
The new plans aim to ‘make Britain a 21st century exporting superpower’ after extensive consultation with local businesses across sectors. Plans also set out targets to increase productivity, wages and job security.
International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox announced the plans to increase exports through better use of the UK’s overseas network, new online technologies and growing an extensive B2B network.
Fox noted that: “The United Kingdom is a great exporting nation and our exporters lead the way, in creating jobs, raising wages and growing our economy.
“UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower.
As an international economic department, we are determined to support, connect and grow UK companies on the world stage through our international network.
“As we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this Export Strategy will help us achieve.”
UK exports already reached record levels last year with £620 billion of goods and services sold abroad by British firms, accounting for 30% of GDP. And whilst research indicates that businesses that do sell abroad have higher growth potential, around 400,000 local companies don’t export even though they suggest themselves that the opportunity to do so is available.
This new export strategy looks to address this, as well as boosting export opportunities for Uk forms of all sizes, by producing smarter and more bespoke support solutions. Four primary strategies include:
- Encouraging and inspiring more companies to export, in part by promoting local success stories and facilitating peer-to-peer learning
- Providing practical advice and assistance on exporting, partly through digital enhancement of the great.gov.uk platform and potential financial incentives to further encourage export start-ups
- Connecting British businesses to international markets and buyers, as well as tariff support
- Raising awareness of the up to £50bn in export finance and insurance support available through UK Export Finance
Director general of the Institute of Directors, Stephen Martin, commented on the new export strategy: “Maximising trade opportunities across the globe will be key to the UK’s future economic success, so we welcome this new export strategy, which provides a solid foundation upon which to build.
“The government deserves credit for investing time and effort in working with business to draw up this strategy, and we are delighted that a number of the IoD’s recommendations have been incorporated.
“Improving the UK’s export performance will depend upon many variables, but the good news is that there is plenty that can be done now to help businesses, irrespective of Brexit.
“We will be encouraging our members to engage with government to make sure this strategy really takes off and enables British firms to realise their full trading potential.”