The UK government has announced plans for its new ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ strategy, which is to help increase annual exports to the value of £1 trillion by the end of the decade.
The 12-point strategy is intended to help UK firms source new opportunities in global markets.
The UK exported around £600 billion in goods and services over 2020, but only one in ten British firms currently export, the government says.
It is a statistic that has prompted Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the international trade secretary, to call upon businesses to “unleash their full exporting potential”.
Under the new strategy, UK Export Finance and other government agencies are to provide new services to help UK exporters find new trading opportunities.
Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry, commented: “As the voice of the UK’s small business community, FSB has been pleased to help develop today’s Export Strategy. For too long small firms have been faced with difficulty getting onto the exporting ladder, so we’re pleased to see many of these fundamental issues tackled head-on in this export plan.
“In our recent export report, we proposed simplifying how small firms can export, improving access to tradeshows support service and information on FTAs, as well as boosting trade skills. These will go a long way to seeing the numbers of exporters rise. Increasing small business exports will drive prosperity and growth, protecting the economic recovery from Covid.”
In the aftermath of Brexit coming into force at the start of this year, the Office for Budget Responsibility has indicated that exports to the European Union are likely to be 15 per cent lower in the long-term, given the new rules around trading with the bloc.
Emma Rowland, policy adviser at the Institute of Directors, has warned that UK-EU trade should not be overlooked if the Global Britain agenda is to truly succeed.
She told the BBC: “Businesses have been tackling head-on the challenges Brexit has thrown at them for the best part of five years. While there is significant potential for trade activity in the wider world, the government must secure a pragmatic solution to the challenges of exporting to the EU. Only then will UK exporting be able to realise its full potential.”
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