Government must do more to support exporters

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Chancellor George Osborne must use his Autumn Statement to deliver confidence to exporters, the British Chambers of Commerce has demanded in response to a new survey which shows that while growth among UK exporters is continuing, but has slowed during the last quarter.

The second DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index highlights the fact that trade documentation data for UK goods exports in the third quarter shows a three per cent increase on the same quarter last year, and three per cent on the previous quarter demonstrating growth in export goods continued.

The survey results show that firms recorded weaker export orders than export sales results, suggesting a slowing of export growth towards the year: Almost a quarter of firms (24 per cent) reported a decrease in export orders (up from 22 per cent in the second quarter, and 35 per cent say orders have increased (the joint lowest level since the third quarter of 2009).

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The UK’s exporters are still performing well, and the results of the Trade Confidence Index show the trend of growth in exports continues. However, uncertainty around the UK’s recovery combined with the eurozone crisis, means that growth has slowed in the last quarter.

“There are some great examples of British small- and medium-sized businesses exporting goods and services across the globe, but we need more of them, and that relies on more support and trade finance. If we’re to see the rebalancing of the economy that we need for recovery, British businesses must be encouraged to take risks and seek out new markets, particularly those outside Europe. The Chancellor must use his Autumn Statement to deliver confidence to exporters, and encourage those looking to trade abroad for the first time to take the leap.”

And DHL Express chief Phil Couchman said: “Steps must be taken to support those looking to target overseas markets, particularly SMEs, who are less able to ride the trends of the economic cycle than their larger counterparts. Now is the time for businesses to expand internationally; with our collective support we can help SMEs exploit the global opportunities open to them, and in turn rebalance the country’s economy.”

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