UK exporters confident over 2023 prospects

More than four out of ten UK exporters expect to see an increase in overseas trade in the coming year, according to a survey published to coincide with International Trade Week.

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The survey, conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD), found that only 22 per cent expected a decrease in international trade, compared to 42 per cent anticipating an increase.However, the report, Restoring Confidence in Cross-border Trade, found that almost half of businesses were still finding the post-Brexit era challenging.
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Plan to digitise borders

The IoD is calling for the Government to work with EU leaders to make customs processes as seamless and as straightforward as possible, and for an acceleration in plans to digitise cross-border services.Emma Rowland, Trade Policy Adviser at the IoD, said: “There is no doubt that smaller businesses in particular are finding the current international trading environment challenging. Importers and exporters feel especially constricted by the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU.“The hangover from the pandemic has worsened the situation, with the UK’s trade recovery being sluggish and business being hampered by supply chain disruption.“It is therefore encouraging that, in spite of these barriers, businesses are anticipating an increase in exports over the coming months. There are opportunities that give traders reason to be optimistic. New markets are being opened up as the government signs trade deals across the globe, and the digitisation of trade processes will help to reduce friction at the border."

Series of events to bolster 'Global Britain' agenda

The survey came as more than 120 events - actual and virtual - were being staged across the UK to mark International Trade Week in a bid to boost 'Global Britain'.International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said the programme of events and workshops had been designed to encourage SMEs “to take that first step onto the trading ladder”.Speaking to an audience of global investors and executives on Tuesday at the Green Trade and Investment Expo in Gateshead, Ms Badenoch set out a three-pronged approach to using trade to ensure the UK is ready to tackle crucial global challenges.This approach, she said, entailed growing and innovating industries to combat climate change, protecting energy security, and creating high-paying jobs in industries of the future, backed by significant international investment."We know trade and investment grows our economy, creates jobs, and puts money in people’s pockets – but it also has the power to tackle the challenges we see around the world," Ms Badenoch said."Now is the time to future-proof our economy by investing in cutting-edge green technology, protecting our long-term energy security and creating thousands of jobs in industries of the future."Meanwhile, the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), in conjunction with business management consultancy Flint Global, published a report on Tuesday - ‘Enhanced Efficiency: Building a UK Border Fit for the 21st Century’ - which made a series of recommendations on how new digital systems and processes could facilitate easier international trade.Marco Forgione, Director-General of the IOE&IT, described the report as setting out “concrete steps that the Government can take in the short, medium and long term to start the journey to building a UK border for the 21st century that is the most modern, efficient and resilient border in the world”.The IOE&IT is also hosting a free webinar on Wednesday as part of International Trade Week on how to make the most of the UK’s new free trade agreements (FTA).

Trade delegation to India

Next week, civic and business leaders from the West Midlands will make a more direct effort to benefit from the current negotiations between the UK and India over an FTA.Between November 6-12, a delegation led by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street will visit Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi to promote opportunities for bilateral trade and investment between India, the West Midlands, and the wider UK.Mr Street said: “As the UK seeks to deepen its relationship with India via a new Free Trade Agreement, we look forward to dovetailing with this national push by going out to India to ‘bang the drum’ for the West Midlands."It will be a fantastic opportunity to engage with the Indian business community to showcase just why the West Midlands is the ideal investment destination for their high-growth companies.“Across automotive, manufacturing and technology - helped by our world-class R&D infrastructure, industrial ecosystem, and specialist talent base - there is tremendous potential for the West Midlands and India to collaborate even more closely to advance innovation for the benefit of both our societies and economies.”

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