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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.


Q4 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q4 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

The percentage of both manufacturing and services exporters who are expecting to increase their prices has risen in the past three months, as international traders struggle with the value of the pound and pressure from the cost of raw materials and other overheads, according to the latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL.

The report, based on a survey of over 2,600 exporters, and export documentation data, shows that nearly half (49%) of manufacturers and 39% of services companies plan to raise their prices, up from 41% and 34% respectively.

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Q3 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q3 2018 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

It’s a time of considerable change and turbulence for many UK’s exporters. The uncertainty of Brexit continues to weigh on many, as does currency fluctuations and global trade turmoil, which can dent confidence for firms trading goods and services across borders.

That said, UK businesses are resilient, and many exporters continue to perform strongly in the current circumstances. Confidence in turnover is strong but concern over exchange rates remains high in light of sterling volatility

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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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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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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: Disappointing lack of progress on continuity trade agreements

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) comments on the latest update to existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

BCC comments on labour and productivity figures

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) comments on the labour market figures for February 2019, published today by the ONS.

BCC, Business West & Thames Valley Chamber comment on Honda announcement

Paul Britton, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group, Phil Smith, Chief Executive of Business West and Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, jointly comment on the Honda announcement relating to the plant in Swindon.

BCC/DHL: Volatility and price pressures weighing on UK exporters

The percentage of both manufacturing and services exporters who are expecting to increase their prices has risen in the past three months, as international traders struggle with the value of the pound and pressure from the cost of raw materials and other overheads, according to the latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL.