Exports up, but Britain’s trade deficit remains too high, says BCC

  • UK trade deficit in goods and services was £3.1bn in March, down from £3.4bn in February
  • Value of UK exports rose by 3.5% between February and March, while imports rose by 2.6% in the same period

Commenting on the UK trade figures for March 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“While it is pleasing to see an upturn in exports in March, Britain’s trade deficit remains disappointingly large. It is clear that we are not making enough progress in rebalancing the economy towards net exports. The figures also highlight the need to make further inroads into faster-growing regions across the rest of the world, while the eurozone, our biggest trading partner, continues to struggle.

“More action is needed to utilise the untapped potential of many British exporters, particularly in the services sector, so that businesses can drive a sustainable recovery. The government must implement measures it has previously announced to support firms looking to break into new markets. In addition, we clearly need a national export strategy focusing on key areas such as trade finance, insurance, and promotion, to enable companies to compete on equitable terms.”

Tracey Howard, International Trade Direct at the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said:

"More and more businesses are now realising the importance of international trade, so in my opinion, this year will see an increase in businesses starting to trade with new markets.

The Global Marketplace series of events that we organised during 2012/13, were attended by delegates who have never been to our events before, and they were very keen to start trading in the countries that we were highlighting.

This year we will be taking a closer look at the business opportunities in more high growth countries: India, Brazil, Qatar, Russia, South Africa and Vietnam. Exporting to these countries will help businesses flourish financially, which in turn will help to lower Britain’s trade deficit."

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