• UK trade deficit in goods and services was £2.7bn in March 2012, compared with a deficit of £2.9bn in February 2012

Commenting on the trade figures for March 2012, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These figures show a mixed picture for the UK economy. Comparing March with February, the trade deficit is down and exports rose more than imports. But looking longer-term, we can see that the deficit worsened in the first quarter of 2012 both quarterly and annually. This shows that the rebalancing of the UK economy towards exports is still too slow.

“The government’s deficit-cutting measures will continue to squeeze domestic demand, which is why a sustainable UK recovery must rely on higher exports, business investment and replacing imports with goods manufactured here at home. The renewed crisis in the eurozone and difficulties in the wider global economy mean British exporters will face serious challenges when trying to maintain positions in international trading markets. The strength of the pound, particularly against the euro, will only make the situation worse.

“The government must take action to address the issues faced by our exporters. British companies, particularly small- and medium-sized firms, have huge untapped potential to increase exports. Giving them extra support will help them compete on equitable terms, and will benefit the national economy as a whole.”


Notes to editors:

Today, the BCC published its latest report entitled Market Barriers Stifle Opportunities, which explains the challenges faced by both exporters and potential exporters. The press release can be found here.

 ONS: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/uktrade/uk-trade/march-2012/stb-uk-trade-march-2012.html

 The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media Contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk