Twenty-seven per cent of exporters reported decreased export sales in Q4 2022 and 47 per cent reported no change. Only 26 per cent of SME exporters saw increased export sales.
UK exporters face significant challenges this year and it will take a concerted effort by the British Chambers of Commerce’s global network, working alongside the UK government, to positively shift the dial, the chamber said recently. Most small and medium enterprise exporters reported no improvement to exports in 2022 last quarter, latest data shows.
The picture for future orders during the quarter was even weaker with 28 per cent reporting a decrease against 24 per cent an increase.
UK exports increased by 6.7 per cent last year once the effect of inflation was removed, but this is still less than the value of goods and services the UK sold overseas in 2018.
In 2022 last quarter, UK exports fell by 2.9 per cent as economic headwinds continued to blow, the chamber said in a press release.
If consumer spending does pick up in China, and beyond, then there could be the potential for higher UK export sales carrying on into 2024.
But the outlook remains uncertain, and the UK Government must fight the corner of small and medium sized export firms.
Issues on customs processes and checks arising from the Northern Ireland Protocol require speedy, stable, and certain resolution, as it still looms over the UK’s relationship with both the European Union and the United States, the chamber said.
Progress on free trade talks with the United States is stalled, meaning that other, innovative ways to improve trade relations will be needed, it noted.
“We must also do all we can to prevent an overly protectionist mindset taking hold in our major trading partner economies. The commitments made in our trade agreements on level playing fields and open, transparent subsidy systems and controls need to be implemented in their spirit as well as in their words,” the chamber said.
The UK government must also finally grasp the nettle and look at changes to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, to make exports more competitive, and with lower compliance costs and red tape burdens, it added.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)