UK businesses are still struggling to access finance to help them export and drive economic growth.
According to the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual International Trade Survey, around a quarter of UK companies preparing to export have reported difficulty in accessing trade finance or credit insurance from lenders – financial products tailored specifically to support firms trading in overseas markets.
The BCC also found that 60 per cent of potential exporters cite general access to finance as a key factor in plans to export goods or services.
The BCC went on to reveal that accessing the appropriate financial products is crucial to businesses looking to export to help cover new costs including market research and product development and managing the risks around shipping and payment.
Of those on the cusp of exporting, who stated that securing the right funding was a key consideration in deciding if, when and where they would export to, over half, 57 per cent, are micro firms, 29 per cent are small firms and 14 per cent are medium or large firms.
Despite this caution, 90 per cent of businesses that are already exporting say further expansion is a priority. This, said the BCC, indicated that confidence in economic growth is becoming more widespread across the country and that appetite for new expansion is returning.
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“A fundamental revolution in our approach to exporting is needed if we are going to reverse our historic trade deficit, overturn our current account deficit and maintain Britain’s position as a leading global trader. We already have world-class products and services that are in demand globally – we now need to ensure the door is open for all UK businesses wanting to trade overseas,” said BCC director general John Longworth.
“While support for UK companies to finance exports of goods and services should be further enhanced, we also need to understand why a quarter of the exporting firms surveyed have been unable to access the financial products specifically designed to help them trade overseas. There are huge potential rewards for firms that can access overseas markets, but there are also costs associated in exporting. The government needs to ensure that UK Export Finance and the British Business Bank offer world-class support to UK businesses, and remove one of the main barriers to exporting – access to finance.”
The BCC said it was already helping UK exporters get direct access to on-the-ground support in new markets through its Global Business Network. It links British firms with “customers and opportunities in the fastest-growing economies overseas”.
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