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International Trade – Five Urgent Issues At The Top Of The New PM’s In Tray

The arrival of the summer recess marks a respite period for many (other than Conservative Party leadership candidates and members) from an intense period of policy-making affecting trade. As a new Prime Minister takes office on 6 September, the in-tray on international trade issues will be daunting.

BCC CALLS FOR ACTION AS EXPORTS REMAIN IN LIMBO

The BCC’s quarterly Trade Confidence Outlook for Q2 2022 showed the proportion of exporters reporting increased overseas sales to be unchanged from Q1 at 29%, while those reporting a decrease remained at 25%. This compares to around 40% of businesses consistently reporting increased domestic sales across the same time period in the BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).

BCC AND IBCC WELCOME NEW UK-ISRAEL TRADE NEGOTIATIONS 

Business supports these efforts to develop an improved trade agreement with Israel to boost the supply of services between our countries. There are also opportunities to cut the costs of exports and imports through strong digital trade rules and more efficient customs regulations.

EXPORT GROWTH IN GOODS MAINTAINED BUT TRADE DEFICIT WIDENING

Overall, on goods exports growth, the pace of recent progress is being maintained, although goods export trade with the EU was not as strong as in April 2022. Of concern is the widening trade deficit in the three months to May 2022 - which has risen on that measure on goods for four successive months.

DIRECTOR GENERAL SHEVAUN HAVILAND’S SPEECH TO BCC’S GLOBAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2022

The Spring Statement was a missed opportunity. We saw some support for business, but the lack of a clear strategic direction meant it did not give clarity or confidence. This has to change as we are on limited time. 

BCC WELCOMES LAUNCH OF UK-GULF CO-OPERATION COUNCIL TRADE NEGOTIATIONS 

These negotiations are likely to be more complex than the others recently undertaken by the UK Government. But they also have the potential for a greater uplift for exporters across the UK, particularly in services and emerging technology.

UNCERTAINTY REMAINS ON FUTURE OF STANDARDS MARKING SYSTEM

There is some way to go before businesses will have complete assurance about the operation of the new markings systems.

WTO AGREEMENTS MUST NOW DELIVER PROGRESS

The BCC is calling for agreements reached at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference to be translated into real change for businesses.

New Digital Economy Agreement  with Singapore a step in the right direction

The UK Government must now work closely with the Chamber Network over the coming months to ensure that smaller firms are able to extract the widest possible benefits from this agreement.

BCC: Upswing In Trade Must Be Sustained

It is heartening to see an increase in the rate of exports to the EU and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, continued progress is needed to meet the Office of Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) forecast of a net increase in UK exports of 9% across the whole of 2022.