The government’s Export Strategy was published with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) at the forefront of DIT’s business engagement in shaping the approach in recent months. In July, the CBI published a report, Winning Worldwide, with many of its recommendations around improving the UK’s export performance adopted in the government’s strategy.
Businesses in every corner of the country are already successful in selling overseas, but after extensive consultation with members, the CBI sees huge potential for UK firms to grow their international activity further. Not only does exporting significantly benefit the national economy, but gains are made right down to firm level, seeing increases in productivity and growth.
The government has set a target of exports making up 35% of GDP, increasing from the current 30% figure. That would mean the UK leapfrogging France, Italy and Canada to second place in the G7 by that measure.
Responding to the publication of the government’s strategy, Ben Digby, CBI International Director, emphasised that expanding trade is fundamental to creating new jobs, raising productivity and increasing prosperity across the country. He went on to say that the strategy comes at a good time as the government is committed to improving the United Kingdom’s international competitiveness.
In Winning Worldwide, the CBI made clear that a cross-government approach is imperative if the UK is to increase its exports. Many of the levers to increase exports lie outside the remit of DIT and it is welcome to see that recognised in the government’s publication. As such, the CBI’s call for close ties between the Export Strategy and the Industrial Strategy were included. Meanwhile, the call for ‘export champions’ to be appointed so that the benefits of selling overseas are spread within the business community has featured. Other measures mirrored between the CBI’s report and the government’s strategy include the need to increase the number of focused trade missions.
The CBI continues to engage with DIT as the Export Strategy is implemented. If any CBI members would like more information or to raise their views on the government’s agenda.