UK: Focus remains on Brexit talks - Rabobank

Tourism is a big export market for the UK

Tourism is a big export market for the UK

Trade Secretary Liam Fox on Tuesday urged Britain to look beyond Brexit as he unveiled the government's future strategy to become an "exporting superpower".

According to the new strategy, the government wants to raise exports as a percentage of the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) up from 30% that it is now to 35%.

Fox said Britain's competitors were discussing wider global issues as he laid out a plan to make Britain a "21st century exporting superpower".

New measures include support for businesses looking to invest overseas and developing an online tool enabling businesses to submit non-tariff barriers they face, as well as deploying an awareness campaign to target UK exporters most likely to benefit from up to £50bn worth of export finance and insurance support from UK Export Finance.

"We therefore welcome the publication of today's export strategy as an important step in helping business to understand and seize the opportunities that exporting provides". The department will also promote UK Export Finance support in overseas markets to help UK companies and consortia win contracts. "SMEs are a vital part of the economy and the new strategy will help business owners leverage exporting opportunities, both inside and outside the European Union".

A year ago £620bn of goods and services exported by British companies, accounting for 30 per cent of GDP, with United Kingdom exports at a record high.

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Dr Fox said that China, where he will meet political leaders later this week, is expected to have 220 cities with a population of more than a million by 2030, compared with 35 such urban centres in Europe.

Announcing a "new national drive to export", Baroness Fairhead, the Trade Minister, said: "As the world's sixth largest exporter, we do punch above our weight; however, we also punch below our potential. This is ambitious but achievable", she insisted.

Stephen Roper, professor of enterprise at Warwick Business School, said: "Brexit uncertainty makes the situation more hard for many exporting SMEs (small and medium enterprises)".

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), said the strategy was "a timely signal" that the government was committed to improving the UK's competitiveness.

"The strategy rightly recognises that while the Government has an important role to play in improving market access, financing exports and providing incentives to get started, it's ultimately business that does exports and makes investments overseas".

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