Trade Secretary announces ambitious UK export strategy

Economy & Politics | Export | Latest News | Reports
Dr Liam Fox

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP, has announced how he plans to make Britain a 21st century exporting superpower through better use of overseas networks, new technology and building extensive business-to-business networks.

This comes as the government continues to roll out sector deals as part of the ‘Industrial Strategy’, boosting jobs and growth in the areas where the UK has a competitive edge. Recent government research revealed 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 UK GDP, with exports at record high levels.

However, the Department for International Trade (DIT) estimated that 400,000 businesses believed they could export but don’t, while demand for British expertise and goods overseas is only growing.

Yesterday Dr Fox 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.

The key aim is to support companies selling overseas by encouraging and inspiring more businesses to export. This includes an increased focus on amplifying the voice of existing exporters to inspire other businesses and facilitating peer-to-peer learning.

New measures include developing into a single digital platform for both domestic business growth and export support and working with large companies to help build the capability of UK supply chains.

Other new measures include support for businesses looking to invest overseas and developing an online tool enabling businesses to submit non-tariff barriers they face.

The government will be deploying an awareness campaign to target UK exporters most likely to benefit from up to £50bn worth of export finance and insurance support from UKEF, and promoting UKEF support in overseas markets to help UK companies and consortia win contracts.

In a speech to a business audience in London, Fox said: “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.”

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