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Lack of R&D investment holds back UK export growth

The report showed that 63 per cent of exporters are expecting trade volumes to rise in the next six months, driven by economic recovery in Europe and North America.

However, Britain must encourage businesses to invest in R&D to increase the value of their merchandise exports over the long term, according to the report.

Trade and investment minister Lord Livingston said: “We are working hard to boost our export performance, but there is still more to do. That’s why increasing support for small and medium-sized companies is a vital part of the Governments long-term economic plan to create jobs and reduce the deficit.

If the UK fails to invest more in R&D, then the country will be outpaced in growth of technology exports by both developed and developing markets.

Livingston added: “We aim to grow trade and international investment in the UK innovation and tech sector and last week launched a new organisation designed to promote this. Over the next two years the Innovation Gateway is tasked with unlocking 1bn of investment.”

Mark  Emmerson, HSBC UK Head of Global Trade and Receivables Finance, said: The example of high-tech presents lessons for other sectors and the future pattern  of global trade.

Companies within developed economies that own the intellectual  property of high value goods still enjoy a strong competitive advantage,  but under-investment in R&D could threaten the advantage the UK enjoys,  presenting an opportunity for emerging markets to gain ground.

At the sector level, transport machinery and industrial equipment are expected to be the main drivers of growth.

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