Rapid responses

Export revolution

[Re: We need an export-led revolution to save the UK economy, Friday]
Exporting is a key area where the UK should be doing better. An “export-led revolution” should focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are not keeping up with the pace of our overseas competitors. Currently, only 20 per cent of UK SMEs export, compared with 29 per cent globally. At the London Chamber of Commerce, supported by British Airways and KPMG, we encourage small companies to explore exporting through a series of private sector trade missions. This enables companies to research foreign markets and meet potential trading partners in a cost-effective way. But if we are going to see a significant impact, more SMEs need to consider whether they have an exportable product. Some SMEs disregard selling abroad because they are unaware of the benefits, or they don’t think they have a product or service that is exportable. With the help of UK Trade & Investment we are launching an export challenge in the spring to guide companies through the process. But we also need government help to tackle trade barriers. Access to foreign markets would be vastly improved if we had a clear aviation policy, for example. The more companies can sell overseas, the sooner “we can export our way back to prosperity”.

Peter Bishop, deputy chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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