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Trade

The BCC produces a wide range of publications and research on trade. Our work focuses on the latest trends in international trade, and issues and markets important to UK businesses around the world.


BCC submissions to Department for International Trade consultations on free trade agreements (FTAs)

BCC submissions to Department for International Trade consultations on free trade agreements (FTAs)

The BCC has submitted responses to DIT consultations on FTAs with Australia, New Zealand and the USA, and membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The submissions emphasise the need to balance market potential with strategic considerations, such as the need for the UK to build the institutional capacity for trade negotiations and the interdependence between agreements.

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Ease Brexit uncertainty to boost innovation through trade

Ease Brexit uncertainty to boost innovation through trade

A survey by British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL Express UK, has today revealed that almost half – 49% – of businesses have uncertainty over Brexit front of mind when deciding whether to trade internationally, highlighting the economic cost of the persistent lack of political clarity.

The research also shows that while there are many concerns for businesses when deciding whether to trade internationally, those that do trade internationally are more likely to be innovative within their business – 65% of those that are internationally active have launched a new product or service in the last 12 months, compared to just 41% of firms who are UK-focused.

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Six months to Brexit: Investment and recruitment would be cut in the event of ‘no deal’

Six months to Brexit: Investment and recruitment would be cut in the event of ‘no deal’

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), in partnership with independent business funder, Bibby Financial Services (BFS), has conducted one of the biggest surveys of business opinion since the referendum, amassing the views of over 2,500 firms from across the UK.

We found that nearly two-thirds of firms still aren’t preparing for Brexit – and in the event of a ‘no deal’ outcome many would cut investment and recruitment plans.

  • A fifth of businesses surveyed (21%) will cut investment if there is ‘no deal’, 20% will move part or all of their business to the EUand 18% will cut recruitment – but in the event of a status quo transition these numbers fall dramatically
  • 62% of firms still haven’t completed a Brexit risk assessment
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Q2 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q2 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

The Quarterly International Trade Outlook, published by the BCC and DHL for the first second quarter of 2018 finds many exporters are performing well but economic and political factors are having an impact on their operations. Tensions with key trading partners and increased uncertainty around the world can have a real bearing on the confidence and profitability of businesses here in the UK.

Exchange rates in particular emerged as a key concern for exporters, especially in the manufacturing sector. While the fall in sterling has helped many exporters to boost sales and orders abroad, it has also meant an increase in the cost of some imported components.

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Q1 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q1 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

The Quarterly International Trade Outlook, published by the BCC and DHL for the first quarter of 2018, shows that exporters are being hampered by widespread labour shortages, particularly in manufacturing, where two-thirds of firms struggled to recruit in the first quarter of 2018.

Both sectors are being severely hampered by the prevalence of skills shortages. Of those recruiting, 66% of manufacturers and 57% of services exporters are struggling to find the right staff, according to the survey of over 3,300 exporters. In the manufacturing sector, the greatest difficulty was in finding skilled manual and technical labour (66%) and in the services sector, it was professional and managerial level positions (53%).

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Infrastructure Survey 2018 - Port Infrastructure

Infrastructure Survey 2018 - Port Infrastructure

A recent BCC survey, in partnership with the Port of Dover, finds that over a third (36%) of traders rely on the just-in-time delivery of material and components, but that many are not preparing for changes to customs procedures after Brexit.

The survey found that delays at UK or EU ports would lead to considerable business disruption, particularly for those operating a just-in-time model.

Nearly a third (29%) of companies believe they will be impacted in terms of administration, costs or operations by delays or congestion at UK or European ports after Brexit but still aren’t yet planning for it.

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Q4 2017 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q4 2017 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

The Quarterly International Trade Outlook, published by the BCC and DHL for the fourth quarter of 2017, shows exporters are being hampered by widespread labour shortages, with three-quarters of recruiting firms experiencing difficulties.

The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures the volume of trade documents issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce for goods shipments, fell by 1.96% on the quarter, but still stands at the fourth highest level on record.

The survey, based on the responses of over 3,200 exporters, shows that in the manufacturing sector, export sales and orders remain stable, while they slowed slightly for the services sector in the final quarter of 2017.

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International Trade Survey 2017: Trading with Europe

International Trade Survey 2017: Trading with Europe

Research by BCC, in partnership with DHL, finds that UK businesses regard Europe as their primary trading partner for the coming years.

The results found that over the next three years, the top two markets which most businesses plan to start or continue exporting to are Western Europe (44%), and Central and Eastern Europe (32%). Western Europe (36%) is also the market which most firms plan to import from.

According to the findings, UK businesses foresee the most significant barriers to trading with foreign markets as tariffs (46%), customs procedures (39%) and local regulations (20%). The results also show exporters’ strategies over the next three years will primarily be influenced by increased demand from overseas buyers (48%), exchange rates (36%) and the UK’s future withdrawal from the EU (35%).

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International Trade Survey 2017: Currency Volatility

International Trade Survey 2017: Currency Volatility

Research by BCC, in partnership with American Express, finds the majority of businesses expect the fall in sterling to increase their costs.

The survey found that 63% of businesses expect their costs to increase in the next 12 months as a result of the devaluation in sterling, including a quarter (24%) who expect costs to rise significantly. In comparison, only 6% of firms expect their costs to decrease.

Over 70% of manufacturers (73%) and business-to-consumer firms (71%) anticipate costs increases, compared to 55% of business-to-business firms, according to the results. The findings of the survey highlight the extent to which the depreciation in sterling is expected to compound the price pressures on firms, underlining the need to ease the domestic cost of doing business.

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Chambers of Commerce are advocates for trade

Chambers of Commerce are advocates for trade

Across the United Kingdom, Accredited Chambers of Commerce are the front door to international trade at a local level. In many regions, Chambers work with the Department for International Trade to offer advice and support directly to exporters, and also offer commercial services that help businesses trade as well.

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BCC comments on government response to Taylor Review

Claire Walker, Co-Executive Director of Policy and Campaigns at the BCC, comments on the government's response to Matthew Taylor's 'Good Work' report.

BCC sets out concerns to Prime Minister ahead of publication of Immigration White Paper

Director General Adam Marshall writes to Prime Minister Theresa May, calling for a post-Brexit immigration system that works for all businesses and the wider economy.

How can the High Value Manufacturing Catapult help your business?

David Riches from the BCC writes about how the High Value Manufacturing Catapult can help businesses innovate and grow.

BCC: Time to put political games to bed

Director General Adam Marshall comments in the aftermath of the vote of confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May.