The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL Express have today (Thursday) published new research which looks at the health of the UK’s export market. The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures both UK exporting activity and business confidence of more than 2,300 exporting firms, shows that more than two thirds (70%) believe their turnover will improve in the next 12 months – up 10% on the same time last year.
The volume index of trade documentation issued by Accredited Chambers of Commerce also jumped to 119.27 – its highest level on record – which shows that UK businesses are growing internationally and breaking into new markets overseas.
BCC Director General, John Longworth, applauds this business optimism but says that the UK needs to do more as a nation to ‘create an environment that makes it worthwhile to export’ so we can encourage even more businesses to take that first step towards trading internationally.
The key findings from the report are:
Commenting, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“Our exporters are bullish and optimistic about the future, with many expecting an increase in turnover having seen a rise in export sales in Q2. The volume of trade documents issued this quarter suggests that exporting activity across the UK is at an all time high. This is fantastic news – as boosting our international trade efforts are key to our long-term economic success.
“But there is still more the UK can do if it is to reach its full exporting potential. Our international trade survey published recently showed that less than half of the businesses have ambitions to grow overseas. I understand this to a degree, as I speak to businesses that have full order books here in the UK and don't see why they would need to start selling abroad. This is why we need to transform the domestic mindset of those businesses by creating an environment that makes it worthwhile for them to export.
“If we are going to reach the government’s target of increasing exports to £1trillion by 2020, the UK should be matching the level of resourcing dedicated to export support provided by our major international competitors. And government intervention must be more focused in areas that can really make a difference, such as providing greater access to finance to growing firms.
“As a nation we can and must do more if we are to remain competitive and stand a chance at rebalancing the UK economy for the long-term.”
Commenting, Phil Couchman, CEO of DHL Express UK and Ireland, said:
“Although the current conditions seem challenging, our UK exporters remain confident in their future turnover and are looking overseas to grow their businesses. For example, this year Chile has seen an increase in exports from Britain of 72% - equating nearly £1.2bn worth of goods, which is extremely encouraging.
“Entering a new market can be difficult, but there are a wealth of resources available, such as DHL’s Export Advisor Service, and if you know your audience and have done your market research, you can succeed in territories which at first glance might not seem obvious.
“We must make sure that UK businesses are not only equipped with the information and resources they need to do this, but that there is ongoing investment to help them on their path to meet the Government’s 2020 exports target. Our own commitment in investing £156 million shows our commitment to UK businesses and our confidence in the UK export market.”
Notes to editors:
The full report is available from the BCC press office.
Lisa Morrison – Head of Media
020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Nick White – Press and Communications Officer
020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Overseas Business Networks Initiative
The British Chambers of Commerce is working with UKTI and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to accredit overseas Chambers of Commerce and business groups in 41 countries across the globe. This will transform the support available for British SMEs looking to do business in high-growth, hard-to-access global markets and gives business people practical, in market support and a first port of call when they step off the plane.
Export Britain, the online export support resource from the British Chambers of Commerce, showcases opportunities in key international markets, and links UK exporters to support available from British Chambers and business groups both in the UK and around the world.
Export Britain helps businesses to make new connections overseas by drawing on the power of the global network of British Chambers and business groups. The site also helps growing and prospective exporters navigate through the export journey by signposting the support available every step of the way, as well as providing information on export training and documentation, events and trade missions.
The British Chambers of Commerce
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: www.britishchambers.org.uk