Over 70% of UK manufacturers have an export-based growth strategy for their business.
That’s according to the latest Annual Manufacturing Report data from The Manufacturer, whereby 71% of manufacturers are actively seeking new markets to penatrate.
The news is positive and highlights the resilience and optimism of exporting manufacturers in the UK in the approaching wake of leaving the European Union, although it should also be considered that many UK exporters trade outside of the EU – over 50% in fact according to the Office for National Statistics (2016).
The report really highlighted a split in outlook and sentiment when it comes to future business, and that split, unsurprisingly, was Brexit.
As we reported here, some 71% of businesses who answered the survey say that Brexit uncertainty is damaging strategic planning and business prospects. A further 54% reported that Brexit would cause severe issues for their business.
But when focusing inwards at their own business and capabilities, the sentiment is far more positive.
For example, nearly 80% of respondents say they have confidence they have the capacity for growth. Also, 67% say they are confident overseas trading conditions are good for promoting business growth.
The report also noted that businesses aren’t quick to lavish praise on the government’s support of exporters, with 55% saying it should do more to promote exports and exporting firms.
And on one of the ways the UK government could do more, especially after 29th March, subsidising any future trade tariffs was noted.
As Andrew Bennet, managing director of Allan & Bertram told The Manufacturer: “If we end up with tariffs on exports to Europe, I assume there would be similar tariffs applied to imports from Europe, so I expect the government to allocate this revenue to exporting businesses to compensate for the export tariffs and allow us to remain competitive.
“Not only does the government need to support the business economy in practical terms, it needs to be seen to be doing so.
“If the government worked with businesses to get us all prepared, that could send a very powerful message to the UK and the EU negotiators – ‘We are ready!’”