The UK is said to have missed the target of doubling the value of its exports to £1 trillion by 2020. The PAC said the UK is not performing as well as its European counterparts, France, Germany and Italy.
However a government spokesman stated “real progress” has been made on the increase of exports worldwide.
The foreign & commonwealth office (FCO) and the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) offices spent over £420 trillion on 2013 on promoting exports worldwide. However reports state that the growth did not really increase, remaining ‘flat’ reported by the BBC.
One factor which has been sighted in hampering the UKs export increase are tighter visa restrictions. This is seen to put potential business travellers off from vesting the UK. This can really have a major effect in building relationships with foreign companies.
A spokesperson explained that despite the coming shortfall in the governments, progress is being made.
The spokesperson explained: “As part of the government’s long term economic plan we have set ourselves an ambitious target to double exports by 2020. We make no apology for setting a stretching target and we are working hard to achieve this.”
“We are shifting our focus towards targeting high-value opportunities, providing more support and advice for UK small and medium sized businesses. We are also establishing an overseas business network which will include British Business Centres in key markets across the world including India, China and UAE.”
“We have made real progress through our increased efforts in some of the growth markets further afield: exports to China, for example, have increased by 91%, and exports to Russia are up by 118%.”
Update June 2016
Despite the government’s aim of increasing UK exports to £1trn by the year 2020, recent projections are showing that we are still falling short of meeting that goal. However, UK businesses have even more opportunity to export than ever before.
As a country with a proud history of trading, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that our goods trading deficit did in fact narrow during January this year, despite the gap growing overall as Britain imported more goods into the country.
According to Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, “exports are being hampered by the sterling’s overall strength in 2015, particularly against the euro, and moderate global demand.”
While there are many reasons that cause figures to fluctuate, exporting still remains a key component of a healthy economy, and those companies who export their goods have been shown to be four times less likely to fold and go bankrupt. Even during times or recession, exporting companies are around ten times less likely to fail than other companies, according to figures released at the Global Trade Review UK trade and export finance conference.
The head of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), Catherine Raines, has urged British companies that export, as well as foreign buyers and business investors to work together to boost exports – namely through Exporting is GREAT, a programme launched by the Government to help UK companies benefit from real-time export opportunities in all sectors, across the world.
Taking part in the programme has offered companies up to 40 new opportunities each day to export – or roughly an opportunity every 37 minutes. The programme links together 109 different countries across 44 business sectors, and export opportunities are not limited to the EU either with chances to trade with other countries such as China and Finland to name but two.
The advancements in digital technology has enabled British business to potentially trade with the whole world, so even the smallest of UK companies can have a global reach and a chance to grow new markets.
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