UK needs an exports revolution says independent commission

Charlotte Henry
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Britain has had a trade deficit for 30 years and it is likely to miss current export targets (Source: Getty)
A revolution is required to boost British exports, according to a report by Graham Cole’s independent exports commission.

Cole, the chairman of Agusta­Westland, was asked to lead the commission by Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls, and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.

He told City A.M that “a lot has been done to improve exports. There’s no doubt that over the last few years more effort has gone into it.” However, he pointed out that Britain has had a trade deficit for 30 years, it’s share of exports is declining and it is likely to miss current export targets.

“I don’t think there’s one major mistake that’s caused the problem, and there’s not one silver bullet that’s going to change the situation,” he continued.

The report suggests seven ways to boost British exports. They include beefing up the role of trade minister, allowing them to attend cabinet. The commission also wants to combine UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) and UK Export Finance (UKEF) to more efficiently support large businesses.

Cole added: “We have had 70 plus organisations representing tens of thousands of companies making submissions, overwhelmingly the view from those submissions is Europe, and being a part of Europe, is very important.”

The commission will deliver its final report, with more detailed recommendations, after the General Election, in June.

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