13 November 2017


#CBIGlobalGrowth Blog: A Government perspective on exports

John Hill, Managing Director, International Trade and Investment, Department for International Trade gives a Government perspective on why exporting is vital to the future of the UK.

#CBIGlobalGrowth Blog: A Government perspective on exports

​The North East has a fantastic industrial heritage. But despite the region’s long trading history, the region’s export performance, alongside the UK as a whole, is lower than expected.

Just 11% of businesses currently export, while exports account for just 28% of UK GDP, compared to 46% in Germany. This is despite the fact that many more companies believe that they have a product or service that they could trade.

Medium-sized businesses (MSBs, 10-249 employees) are well-placed to buck the trend and get Britain exporting. For instance, while MSBs represent just 1% of British businesses, they hold 12% of jobs, and 14% of GDP. And compared to businesses of other sizes, MSBs are, on average:

  • More productive
  • More likely to innovate
  • More resilient to downturns
  • Grow faster
  • Create more jobs
  • Offer higher pay

These companies are ripe to take advantage of the 90% of global growth forecast to be outside the EU in the next 10-15 years.

So, what can the government do to help?

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is developing new strategies, networks, and processes to ensure that business across the NE can export, grow, and become even more productive. DIT has representatives across the region and is:

  • Working with companies to understand the markets that businesses in the NE want to sell to, identifying potential barriers to trade, and helping firms to overcome them
  • Piloting new techniques, tools and services to get more NE businesses into exporting, and to get companies to export at higher volume
  • Building and connecting a private sector market of companies that can advise businesses, subsidising the costs to firms by paying half of the fee.