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Trade OLD

As negotiations to establish a future UK-EU relationship beyond December 2020 take place, the BCC is campaigning for greater clarity on the UK’s future trading relationships as well as answers to the practical concerns of businesses.

Our research and analysis distils and assesses what the developments in international trade mean in practical terms for businesses.


Q4 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q4 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Exporters continued to tread water through the final quarter of 2019 according to the largest independent survey of UK firms, released by British Chambers of Commerce and DHL Express.

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Q3 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q3 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

BCC Quarterly International Trade Outlook for Q3: Manufacturing exporters report stark drop in sales and orders

A majority of UK manufacturing exporters are reporting a stark worsening in sales and orders, with indicators showing a substantial drop compared to 2017 and 2018 levels.

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Uncertainty around Brexit, tariffs and exchange rates holding back UK exports

Uncertainty around Brexit, tariffs and exchange rates holding back UK exports

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Bibby Financial Services (BFS) have revealed that uncertainty around Brexit, tariffs and exchange rate volatility are holding back the potential of many UK exporters.

The recent survey included 1,140 internationally active UK businesses, and found that general uncertainty around Brexit was considered the top barrier to export, listed by almost half (47%) of businesses, followed by specific concerns around tariffs and exchange rate volatility, listed by 35% and 33% respectively.


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Business still unable to prepare fully for a no deal Brexit

Business still unable to prepare fully for a no deal Brexit

New research from the British Chambers of Commerce shows a concerningly high number of UK firms aren’t ready for a no deal Brexit. Business has consistently called on government to avoid a messy and disorderly exit but in light of the political turmoil and relentless uncertainty, clearer and more consistent information is needed to help them prepare.

The survey of over 1,500 firms from across the country, found that in the midst of conflicting political messages over the likelihood of no deal and remaining gaps in government guidance, two-fifths (41%) of UK businesses have not done a Brexit risk assessment.

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Q2 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q2 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Many UK exporters are treading water at a time of deep uncertainty, according to the latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL.

The survey of 3,400 exporters found nearly two-thirds (63%) of manufacturers report exchange rates as a concern to their business, indicating the pressure from sterling volatility.

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Q1 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

Q1 2019 Quarterly International Trade Outlook

More UK exporters are reporting a decrease in orders in the opening quarter of the year, with cashflow and confidence dipping too according to the latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL.

The report based on the responses of over 3,400 exporters shows that one in five manufacturers (23%) and service firms (20%) saw their export order books decline in the first three months of the year – the highest for both since Q2 2017 when records began.

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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 EU and 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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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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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 responds to new tiered Coronavirus restrictions 

Commenting on the new tiered Coronavirus restrictions that will come into effect after the lockdown ends in England on December 2, BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:  

BCC responds to Chancellor's Spending Review

BCC Director General Adam Marshall comments on the Chancellor's Spending Review.

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