UK ministers will this week announce a new export target of £1billion a year by 2030, although previous Conservative governments have failed to reach the same figure by 2020.
The restated overseas sales target is part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to revamp Britain’s post-Brexit export strategy, which will be launched in London during International Trade and Trade Week. ‘investment. The trade event, which begins on Monday, is the first since the UK left the EU’s single market, giving it added importance, according to executives involved in the preparations.
Johnson is under pressure to show the benefits of leaving the EU, which will allow Britain to strike free trade deals directly with other countries. Many companies complain of being exposed to additional costs and red tape due to coming out of the block, rather than seeing any practical benefits.
A new ‘made in UK, sold to the world’ campaign will be launched alongside various initiatives to boost foreign trade by providing financial support, such as export-linked loans and access to expertise and advice. Small businesses should get financial support to attend trade shows, conferences and exhibitions.
“This is the first time we have had an export strategy since leaving the EU,” said a UK trade official, who pointed to data showing that only around 10% of UK businesses currently sell to overseas, supporting 6.5 million jobs in the UK. “By increasing exports, it will help bring Britain up to speed,” the official added.
In 2012, former Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to meet the export target of £1billion by 2020. The promise was also in the Conservative Party manifesto of 2015. In fact, the UK only managed to increase overseas sales to £689bn by 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
The FT has revamped Trade Secrets, its must-have daily briefing on developments in international trade and globalisation.
register here to understand which countries, companies and technologies are shaping the new global economy.
Other plans to be announced this week include changes to the Export Development Guarantee to allow UK Export Finance, the government’s export credit agency, to support larger working capital loans for businesses. foreign or national who want to start exporting from the UK. Officials hope this will attract foreign investment to the UK and boost the global ambitions of domestic companies.
UKEF will also double the repayment period from five to ten years for ‘green’ exporters to boost the UK’s low-carbon economy and encourage rapid export growth.
Emily Thornberry, shadow trade secretary, had urged the government to return to the £1bn export target at the Labor Party conference in September.
“Fixing our trade with Europe must be the priority,” she said. “This can only be achieved if the government pulls its head out of the sand, fixes the holes in its botched Brexit deal and helps our exporters get back to trading with the UK’s biggest market.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, 2019 was a record year for UK exports, with exports of goods and services up 5% on 2018, and exports of goods to non-EU countries of the EU, up 13.6% over the same period.
Newsletter Britain after Brexit
Keep up to date with the latest developments, post-Brexit, with original weekly insights from our public policy editor Peter Foster and the FT’s senior editors. register here.
Letter in response to this article:
“Global Britain” turns to SMEs to weigh their weight / From Rebecca Harding, Managing Director, Coriolis Technologies, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK