CBI pushes for a Low Pay Commission-style body to promote British exporting

With the government committed to doubling exports to £1tn by 2020, the CBI is calling for an independent, national exports commission to be established.

This, it believes, will show the UK is “serious about turning its export performance around in a meaningful way”, and will bring together businesses large and small.

Using evidence of policies employed by countries including the US, Singapore, Sweden and Germany (amongst others) the industry body sees a “one stop shop” of joined-up government support and advice for exporters as the best option.

It will take the form of a website and help potential exporters deal with the problem of identifying the “right opportunities”.

Simon Moore, CBI international director, said: It’s vital that our future prosperity is not compromised by political point scoring. An independent, national exports commission, brining together for the first time exporters and politicians to create targets and polices, would provide firms with long-term certainty over government policy and put business feedback at the heart of decisions over future policies.

“A more commercially-focussed UKTI, coupled with a joined-up approach to export policy and support right across government – which we have long called for – will lead to more firms, especially growing ones, moving their goods and services around the globe.”

The CBI is also suggesting:

  • Creating two new export finance products to plug the gap in trade finance for small and MSB exporters
  • Protecting the “sharp end” of business support overseas – provided by British embassies and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office – focusing savings instead on streamlining support in Whitehall
  • More innovative collaboration between UKTI and businesses to improve the commercial awareness of UKTI staff, and foster knowledge sharing between them

Read more on exporting:

Earlier in December, the British Chambers of Commerce, cut its UK economic growth forecasts from 2.6 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

Speaking then, director general John Longworth said that in the last parliament the government said it would rebalance the economy towards manufacturing and exports. But he said efforts to encourage export growth had been “a complete failure”.

The UK’s trade deficit, determined by looking at the different between imports and exports, widened to £4.14bn in October – up from £1.07bn in September. The growing deficits were due to a big increase in imports of goods, combined with a small decrease in exports.

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Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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