Export growth must be overriding national priority, says the British Chambers of Commerce.
•The UK deficit on trade in goods and services was £3.3bn in September 2013, unchanged from August
•There was a £9.8bn deficit on goods, partly offset by a £6.5bn surplus on services
•The trade deficit in goods and services increased markedly in Q3 2013, largely reflecting a wider goods deficit (down £4.3bn - £3.8bn goods)
Commenting on the trade figures for September 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
“The UK is not doing enough to plug the export gap and rebalance our economy towards net exports. While the quarterly figures paint a disappointing picture, it is important to remember that our trade deficit is now smaller than before the financial crisis, and we have made progress in improving our trade balance in services.
“While our exporters are looking towards faster-growing markets outside the EU, this process must be accelerated. The government can ensure that our global traders can compete on a level playing field with our international competitors. We have long said that more attention and resources need to be allocated towards boosting UK exports, with a strong focus on trade finance, insurance and promotion.”
Samuel Lewis, Policy Advisor at Mid Yorkshire Chamber said:
"While these figures are disappointing, they have not been reflected in the performance of local businesses reported in our own Quarter 3 economic survey. Firms at a local level appear to have increasing confidence and are reporting growing export sales and orders.
However, it is essential that this momentum is built upon and there is more that the Government could do to support British exporters. Public spending on export support stands at 0.05% of GDP. If the Government is serious about growing our economy through international trade, this ambition must be matched with action. Meanwhile, political posturing over Britain's membership of the European Union runs the risk of seriously undermining the growing confidence among UK firms, leading to significant uncertainty over investment decisions and export strategies."