Fox launches ambitious new Export Strategy to boost British Business

  • Liam Fox sets out ambitious new plan to make Britain a 21st century exporting superpower
  • Government sets new ambition to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP to 35%
  • A government-led collaboration with business developed after extensive engagement with range of UK businesses
  • Streamlined and targeted offer for businesses of all sizes, set to raise productivity, boost wages and protect employment across the UK
  • Strategy set to help Wales become a world-leading export nation

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP, will today (Tuesday 21 August) set out how the Government will make Britain a 21st century exporting superpower through better use of our overseas network, new online tools and building an extensive business to business network.

This comes as the Government continues to roll out sector deals as part of the Industrial Strategy, boosting jobs and growth in the areas where the UK has a competitive edge – now supporting the export of this expertise across the world.

Research shows that companies that export have increased growth potential, are more productive and have better paid jobs.

Last year £620bn of goods and services exported by British companies accounted for 30% of our GDP, with UK exports are at a record high.

This includes £16.4bn of goods exports from Wales, a 7.1% rise on the previous year.

However, the Department for International Trade estimates that 400,000 businesses believe they could export but don’t, while demand for British expertise and goods overseas is only growing.

Dr Fox, joined by Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, will today set out the government’s long-term ambition to go further and increase total exports as a proportion of GDP to 35%.

Baroness Fairhead will also visit Cardiff-based Cloth Cat Animation, whose children’s television programmes have enjoyed great success in China and Australia.

Responding to a call from business, The Export Strategy outlines how the government will produce smarter and more tailored support to UK companies. There are key elements to the strategy to support companies selling overseas:

  • Encourage and inspire more businesses to export. This includes an increased focus on amplifying the voice of existing exporters to inspire other businesses and facilitating peer-to-peer learning.
  • Inform businesses by providing information, advice and practical assistance on exporting. New measures include developing into a single digital platform for both domestic business growth and export support and working with large companies to help build the capability of UK supply chains. We will also assess financial incentives and signposting as a means to support SMEs access new markets and private sector export support.
  • Connect UK businesses to overseas buyers, markets and each other. New measures include support for businesses looking to invest overseas and developing an online tool enabling businesses to submit non-tariff barriers they face.
  • Put finance at the heart of our offer.

Deploying an awareness campaign to target UK exporters most likely to benefit from up to £50bn worth of export finance and insurance support from UKEF, and promoting UKEF support in overseas markets to help UK companies and consortia win contracts.

In a speech to a business audience in London, International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP is expected to say:

The United Kingdom is a great exporting nation and our exporters lead the way, in creating jobs, raising wages and growing our economy.

UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower.

As an international economic department, we are determined to support, connect and grow UK companies on the world stage through our international network.

As we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this Export Strategy will help us achieve.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department of International Trade, said:

Since its creation two years ago, DIT has already helped thousands of UK companies to export – with exports now at a record high.

As the world’s sixth largest exporter, we do punch above our weight, however, we also punch below our potential. This Export Strategy sets out to change that and to increase exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%, taking us from the middle of the G7 to near the top. This is ambitious, but achievable.

This strategy builds on the UK Industrial Strategy and our existing export support services – our network of trade advisers and promoters across the UK and in 108 countries worldwide, UKEF’s £50 billion capacity to support exports in 60 currencies, and our service. To achieve our aim, Government must join up across departments to enable UK companies to succeed overseas.

This strategy is a first step – a foundation – for a new national drive to export.

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