Indeed, the last Trade Confidence Index did give indications that exporters were expecting a more positive performance this year, and this has been borne out in reality. The business activity measures of export orders and sales have risen strongly, and documentation returns are the highest on record. Given a difficult 2011 for many businesses, this report presents a positive message of increased international trade.

Nevertheless, it is important that we do not take our eye off the ball when it comes to maintaining the UK’s position as a stro trading nation, and we have used this quarter’s results to highlight potential solutions to the skills deficiencies related to exporting that do need addressing. Only by looking at international trade from every possible angle now will we have the building blocks for a vibrant exporting community in the future.