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Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, has thrown down the gauntlet to MPs, urging them to encourage businesses in their constituencies to export.
All MPs have been provided with a toolkit of information and resources to help businesses realise their exporting potential. The government estimates that 19% of businesses have goods or services that could be sold overseas but currently aren’t.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has set a goal to increase UK exports to 35% of GDP. In 2017, the figure was just over 30%. Fox is proud of the DIT’s achievements but believes there is more to be done. In an article for Politics Home, he wrote;
“Boosting UK exports is a task that requires all hands on deck, and the support of Members of Parliament is crucial in ensuring that British businesses can take advantage of the numerous exporting opportunities and support available to them.”
Fox wants to encourage businesses that have never exported before to consider the benefits to their business of selling overseas.
The United Kingdom is the world’s fifth or sixth largest economy, according to which figures are used, but is only number ten in the list of the world’s biggest exporting countries, just behind Italy and just ahead of Canada. But of that top ten, the UK enjoyed the second fastest growth in exports during 2018, just behind The Netherlands, which ranks as the world’s fifth largest exporting nation.
Fox warns that the progress made in export growth will face strong headwinds in the coming years and urges all MPs to take the message to their local business communities, encouraging more to take up the challenge of international trade. “As MPs we can help rectify this by acting as trade ministers for our constituencies: encouraging businesses to start exporting by making them aware of the benefits, informing them of the support available and putting them in touch with that support.”
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