Posted by

Global Economic Adviser, Sukhdeep Dhillon

20 Nov 2014

Earlier this week, Prime Minister David Cameron said ‘red warning lights are flashing’ against a backdrop of instability and uncertainty, as the G20 summit drew to a close. Cameron said this presents a real risk to the UK recovery, adding that the eurozone slowdown is already having an impact on British exports and manufacturing. The eurozone, UK’s largest trading partner, is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too. Emerging market economies, the drivers of growth in the recovery, are now slowing down.

Today’s Trade Confidence Index for Q3, published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL Express, echoes the Prime Minster’s warning. The report, which measures both UK exporting activity and business confidence of more than 2,300 exporting firms, found that fewer exporters reported increased sales, a majority instead saying that export sales have remained consistent.

The BCC’s own Quarterly Economic Survey, published earlier this month, also demonstrated that businesses, while still positive about the future, are finding it tougher to expand their order books. We cannot ignore the fact that the UK’s overall export performance has not been profound.

Greater efforts are needed to support and promote UK exports, so that more British businesses can penetrate high-growth markets overseas. We at the British Chambers of Commerce are continuously working to improve awareness of the growth opportunities abroad, breaking down the fear of exporting, and providing easy access to practical support on the ground.

Britain has the quality, the creativity and drive to win in the global trade race. We need to support and celebrate our own fast-growing companies. Too many companies fall into exporting by chance, whereas in the competitive world of today they must be much more proactive in looking to take their products overseas. But this of course goes hand in hand with receiving the right support to help them make that leap.

The economy only stands a chance at improving if the Government makes commitments that will give firms the tools they need to grow – such as direct support for exporters to help them break into new markets, and the best road, rail and air connections so they can transport their goods and people around the world.