International Trade

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Osborne: Britain is not exporting enough

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He said: “We cannot rely on consumers alone for our economic growth, as we did in previous decades and we cannot put all our chips on the success of the City of London, as my predecessors did.

“Britain is not investing enough. Britain is not exporting enough. There are encouraging signs. Both business investment and exports are forecast to grow.”

“But we can’t be passive observers of the forecasts. We need to roll up our sleeves, get to work and make it happen.”

A report last autumn suggested the UK was on track to miss its target of increasing exports to £1tn by 2020. 

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce said that Osborne “hit the nail on the head.” 

He said: “Unless our economic recovery broadens out, and companies feel confident enough to implement their growth plans both at home and overseas, it will be merely good rather than truly great.

“On export, one of his top priorities must be to properly resource Britain’s global business network, much as our key competitors do. This would ensure that UK companies have strong support and advice when they land in growing markets overseas.”

Osborne also highlighted the importance of Hong Kong as a significant trading partner for the UK and a destination in its own right. 

He said: “You are the UK’s second largest market for goods in the Asia-Pacific.You are the source of just under 30% of the profits of two of the UK’s largest banks, HSBC and Standard Chartered. More investment comes to the UK from Hong Kong than from the USA, Canada and Singapore combined”

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