What does the Chancellor’s budget mean for Norfolk export?

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Last week’s Budget stated that 'the UK is one of the most open economies in the world, with significant trade and financial links with other countries'. Whilst a weak European economy has led to subdued export growth to EU countries, other countries are picking up the mantle with a 24% increase in export volume to non-EU countries since 2010. This performance is reflected in the fact that the 3 month trade deficit (to Jan 15) was the lowest since October 2000 (at £4.4bn)

The Office of Budget Responsibility is upbeat too, forecasting exports growth of 3.9% in 2015, 4.0% in 2016 and growth of over 4.0% over the remainder of the forecast. 

Turning to the investment for exporters, the Chancellor also revealed:

A £3.5m in 2015-16 for series of trade missions focused on the North
A doubling of funding to £7.5M in 2015-16 for UKTI activities in China
A £1.5m in 2015-16 for International Festival for Business in Liverpool, including attracting Foreign Direct Investment

It is good to see more resource put in place to boost Britain’s burgeoning exports into the Chinese market, and to fund additional trade missions, which help many companies get into markets for the first time. However additional resource is needed to support the smaller businesses looking to start trading internationally for the first time or looking to enter new markets.

The support the Government is giving Overseas Chambers as part of the Overseas Business Network Initiative (OBNI) has been very welcome but there is still more that needs to be done.  Norfolk Chamber is making valuable links with many of these new markets in order to supports its membership take that first step into international trade or new markets with confidence .

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