UK 'could become an exporting superpower'

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The international trade secretary wants Britain to excel at international trade, starting with improving exports.

New plans are being laid out this week that aim to turn the UK into an exporting superpower, with as many businesses as possible sending goods overseas.

International trade secretary Dr Liam Fox is to reveal the Export Strategy today (August 21st 2018), which includes measures to boost exports as a proportion of GDP from 30 per cent to 35 per cent. This would take Britain from the middle of the G7 to near the top in a league table of amount of goods exported.

The new plan has been developed as a government collaboration with businesses of all sizes and it is hoped that its implementation will raise productivity, increase wages and safeguard employment all across Britain.

As part of the strategy, new online tools will be set up, better use of the country's overseas network will be made and smart, tailored support will be offered to companies looking to export, eventually building an extensive business-to-business structure.

There will also be help for companies keen to invest overseas and new ways of connecting firms to markets and buyers.

Earlier this year, former Barclays head of corporate banking John Mahon was appointed to lead the implementation of the strategy.

At a speech in London today, Dr Fox is expected to say: "I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower. As an international economic department, we are determined to support, connect and grow UK companies on the world stage through our international network.

"As we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this Export Strategy will help us achieve."

Last year, £620 billion (€690 billion) of goods and services was exported by British companies, amounting to 30 per cent of the nation's GDP and putting exports at a record high.

However, the Department for International Trade believes 400,000 businesses think they could export but currently do not. At the same time, research has shown companies that do export have better growth potential, better-paid jobs and are more productive.

Speaking in support of the new Export Strategy, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce Dr Adam Marshall said: "Our biggest competitors invest heavily in promoting their countries’ products and services, and the UK must match or exceed them."