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With Brexit set to give the country its greatest shakeup for the past 60 years in March 2019, the government has devised many initiatives to grow one of the economy’s greatest strengths – exports. Encouragingly, an announcement on Tuesday August 21 by Liam Fox, secretary of state for international trade, could signal the biggest one yet.
Speaking to business leaders in London, Fox boldly claimed Britain will become an even stronger exporting superpower after unveiling the new Export Strategy, which builds on the current Industrial Strategy from 2017. The new initiative aims to boost shipping overseas by 5% and take Britain from the middle of the G7 to the top.
Indeed, The Department for International Trade (DIT) believes 400,000 companies could sell abroad yet don’t. The new policy seeks to remedy this by connecting British companies to foreign buyers and markets, providing advice and practical assistance on the process and promoting awareness of UK Export Finance, the export credit agency, which the DIT says could benefit businesses up to £50bn in finance and insurance.
In 2017, British exports surged to a record £620bn, representing 30% of GDP. With this new policy, the government aims to grow the exports contribution of GDP to 35%.
Commenting on the initiative, Fox said: “UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower. As an international economic department, we are determined to support, connect and grow UK companies on the world stage through our international network.”
Considering the ever increasing risk of a no-deal Brexit, it’s encouraging to see the government at least pay lip service to boosting Britain’s exports. Here’s to hoping Fox and friends follow up with some action.