International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox will set out a plan to make Britain an exporting superpower by better using overseas networks, new online tools, and building business to business networks.
The announcement comes as the Government continues to roll out sector deals as part of its Industrial Strategy, boosting jobs and growth in areas where the UK has a competitive edge.
Research shows that companies that export have increased growth potential, are more productive and have better paid jobs.
Last year, £620bn of goods and services exported by British companies accounted for 30% of the county’s GDP, with UK exports at a record high.
However, the Department for International Trade estimates that 400,000 businesses believe they could export but don’t, while demand for British expertise and goods overseas is only growing.
Dr Fox will today set out the government’s long-term ambition to go further and increase total exports as a proportion of GDP to 35%.
Responding to a call from business, The Export Strategy outlines how the government will produce smarter and more tailored support to UK companies.
Dr Liam Fox MP will say later today: “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.”
Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department of International Trade, said:
“Since its creation two years ago, DIT has already helped thousands of UK companies to export – with exports now at a record high.
“As the world’s sixth largest exporter, we do punch above our weight, however, we also punch below our potential.
“This Export Strategy sets out to change that and to increase exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%, taking us from the middle of the G7 to near the top. This is ambitious, but achievable.
“This strategy builds on the UK Industrial Strategy and our existing export support services – our network of trade advisers and promoters across the UK and in 108 countries worldwide, UKEF’s £50 billion capacity to support exports in 60 currencies, and our great.gov.uk service.
“To achieve our aim, Government must join up across departments to enable UK companies to succeed overseas.
“This strategy is a first step – a foundation – for a new national drive to export.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, said: “Expanding trade is fundamental to creating new jobs, raising productivity and increasing prosperity across the country.
“This strategy is a timely signal that the Government is committed to improving the United Kingdom’s international competitiveness.
“The CBI strongly supports the ambition to make exports 35% of GDP, which will put the UK out in front of many of our international competitors.
“We estimate that in every region of the country there are around 10% of businesses that could export, but don’t, and we look forward to working alongside the Government to support and inspire them to seize the opportunity.
“The CBI has consistently called for a long-term approach to exports. Previous strategies have come and gone, but businesses have been let down by their execution.
“Firms will work with the strong team in place at the Department for International Trade to ensure these plans are now rigorously carried out.”
Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, added: “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.”
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