International Trade

UK firms have a new chance to export roughly every 37 minutes

3 min read

20 April 2016

While the government’s target of doubling UK exports to £1trn by 2020 has focused minds, projections indicate that we are still a long way from reaching that goal. However, it seems British firms now have more opportunities to do so.

March 2016 saw the Office for National Statistics reveal that, although Britain’s goods trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed in January 2016, the gap with EU countries was at its widest on record as Britain imported more goods.

This struggle, according to Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, was due to “exports being hampered by the sterling’s overall strength in 2015, particularly against the euro, and moderate global demand.”

However, he explained that exporting was a key component to a healthy economy as companies who export are four times less likely to go bust in general, and ten times less likely to go bust in a recession – a figure that was unveiled at the Global Trade Review UK trade and export finance conference.

The “Cole Report“, published at the end of June 2015, also gave direction for achieving the government’s goal of increasing UK exports to £1tn by 2020. This led the head of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), Catherine Raines, to urge British companies, foreign buyers and investors to get behind the government’s efforts to boost exports – namely through Exporting is GREAT. And its recent figures suggest that it may be doing the trick.

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The figures, revealed during Exporting is GREAT Week which runs from 18-22 April, suggested that new exporters are making up nearly a fifth of UKTI customers. And over 6,000 export opportunities have been showcased at exportingisgreat.gov.uk since November 2015. 

This, it said, equates to 40 new opportunities every day or a new chance to export roughly every 37 minutes for UK businesses – with opportunities coming from 109 countries and 44 different sectors, including the chance to sell tea to China or cheese to France. It also highlighted a Spanish demand for our deckchairs and a Finnish thirst for British beer.

“We have a proud history as a trading nation,” said trade and investment minister Lord Price. “The development of digital technology has the potential to give even the smallest company a global reach and access to attractive new markets. 

“This government is committed to supporting 100,000 more UK businesses to export by 2020. Exporting is GREAT Week is the perfect time to inspire companies to take advantage of the world of opportunity out there and the global demand for British products, skills and expertise.”

If you’re looking to export then here are some more tips to conquer the overseas market in 2016.