We’d all like to get abroad this summer. But for the UK’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), getting a bit of exposure to foreign climes isn’t all that straight forward. As we’ve mentioned before in the pages of Elite Business, exporting can be make or break for SMEs. However according to official trade figures, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was £3.6bn in February, the largest it has been in six months. Getting out there and selling our goods abroad has never been more important and, whilst we are making some headway out in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, it seems many SMEs are still a little too wary to dive in with both feet.
In its new report, The Only Way is Exports: renewing the UK’s role as a trading nation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has reiterated the importance of medium-sized enterprise for an export led recovery. However it reveals there are several stumbling blocks harming confidence amongst businesses and resulting in only a fifth of the nation’s enterprises exporting, rather than the quarter seen in the European Union.
To address this problem, the CBI has called for a collection of export-boosting measures to help Britain get back in the game. Amongst the recommended actions are an increased focus being placed on exporting in business and government strategy, the introduction of a new tax credit to aid exporters in securing a foothold, a simplification of elements of the Bribery Act – to minimise the amount of paperwork required for exporting companies – and improved access to export finance schemes.
“Global trade has been one of the bedrocks of UK economic strength but to cement our position as a leading exporting nation in the future we need more active Government support,” commented John Cridland, the CBI’s director-general. “Business and government must build on those sectors where we excel, such as automotives and public services, as part of a wider industrial strategy.”
Hopefully with these measures and a little work on the home front the UK should once again have its day in the sun.