Additionally, one quarter (24%) of UK businesses preparing to export have reported difficulty in accessing trade finance or credit insurance from lenders - products tailored specifically to support firms trading in overseas markets.

Access to finance is an issue for firms of all sizes. Of the 60% of UK firms on the cusp of exporting who stated that securing the right funding was a key consideration in deciding if, when and where they would export to, over half (57%) are micro firms, 29% are small firms and 14% are medium or large firms.

Despite this, 90% of businesses that are already exporting say further expansion is a priority, indicating that confidence in economic growth is becoming more widespread across the country and that appetite for new expansion is returning.

Accessing the appropriate financial products is crucial to businesses planning to enter export markets, to help cover new costs including market research and product development, and managing the risks around shipping and payment.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"A fundamental revolution in our approach to exporting is needed if we are going to reverse our historic trade deficit, overturn our current account deficit and maintain Britain's position as a leading global trader. We already have world-class products and services that are in demand globally - we now need to ensure the door is open for all UK businesses wanting to trade overseas.

"While support for UK companies to finance exports of goods and services should be further enhanced, we also need to understand why a quarter of the exporting firms surveyed have been unable to access the financial products specifically designed to help them trade overseas.

"There are huge potential rewards for firms that can access overseas markets, but there are also costs associated in exporting. The government needs to ensure that UK Export Finance and the British Business Bank offer world-class support to UK businesses, and remove one of the main barriers to exporting - access to finance.

"To ensure that UK exporters have direct access to on-the-ground support in new markets, the BCC and chamber network are playing our part by actively expanding our Global Business Network to link British firms with customers and opportunities in the fastest-growing economies overseas." 


Notes to editors:

The latest survey undertaken in Q1 2015, received responses from 2,467 businesses.

The BCC’s Business Manifesto: A Business Plan for Britain has proposed a number of measures to assist first-time exporters, and to help existing exporters target new international markets:

•Continue to develop a world-class, global business-to-business network of British Chambers and business groups – linking British firms with customers and opportunities for growth in the fastest-growing overseas markets.

•Continue work to bring UK Export Finance up to par with the world’s best export finance agencies – ensuring UK businesses can access finance needed to seal deals in markets around the world.

•Make foreign language learning compulsory from age seven to 16 – supporting more young people to ‘think global’, and acquire the knowledge and skills that are highly valued by Britain’s exporters.

• Ensure UK businesses have access to world-class digital infrastructure by leading the world in the development of 5G technology – putting economic ambition and aspiration at the heart of UK plans for digital infrastructure.

•Drive the completion and enforcement of the EU Single Market in goods, services and e-commerce – so that the UK can reap the full benefits of the world’s biggest trading bloc.

This November the British Chambers of Commerce is hosting its fourth annual international trade conference, to bring together existing and potential exporters with businesses and experts with experience in trading internationally. This year's conference, ‘Trade the World, Accessing High Growth Markets’ aims to highlight the untapped opportunities in the fastest-growing overseas markets. Find out more information here: BCC 2015 International Trade Conference: Trade the World – Accessing High Growth Markets.

Media contacts:

Natasha Downes – Press Officer

020 7654 5817 / 07768458077

Chris McIntyre - Press Officer

020 7654 5813 / 07825 746 812

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 52 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. For more information visit: