Foreword: Best in class

The UK's export performance has been the chink in the armour of our economic recovery, with export volumes flat since 2011 and net trade often negatively impacting GDP. While the CBI has welcomed the government's ambitious targets to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 and get 100,000 more businesses exporting, the CBI forecasts that the UK will fall over £300 billion [1] short of this target at current rates of progress.

This lack of progress has put the performance of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) – the UK's trade and investment promotion agency – in the spotlight with reform and budget cuts likely in the wake of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and Autumn Statement. Furthermore, Trade Minister Francis Maude has called for a “whole of government" approach to supporting exporters, leaving many to ask: what does this mean for UKTI?

CBI members are clear that ultimately it is business that does business. But they also believe that government can play a critical role in supporting their international ambitions, by creating a business environment in the UK that makes it easier to access global markets and through the provision of practical support to businesses to help them “get into and get on in" international markets.

With this in mind, the CBI has looked at a range of examples of how export support is provided internationally, across Europe, Asia and the US to find out what we can learn from the competition. Building on our report – Business priorities for growing UK exports – published ahead of the UK General Election in May, this report identifies six steps that the new government should take as it restructures the way it delivers export support to business. Taken together, we believe these steps will help to make UK government support for exporters “best in class".

Next - Executive summary


[1] CBI/Delta Economics Forecasts, September 2015