In August the British government published a new export strategy that will serve as a blue print for future trade negotiations and policy making after Brexit. As they note in the preamble, for the first time in over 40 years the UK will be unilaterally forming its own trade policy and alliances globally that represents a significant opportunity and challenges. The government’s overarching aim is to raise exports as a percentage of GDP from 30% to 35%, towards the top of the G7, in the coming years.
One of the measures under consideration involves possible incentives to encourage more exporting. This could include support to encourage SMEs to access new markets and government investment in export support from the private sector by assessing financial incentives such as vouchers, grants and loans. The exact form such incentives could take. What would you favour?
To download and read the full government export strategy, you can find it here.
Businesses have told us they also face a range of practical barriers. These barriers include attitudinal barriers affecting some businesses that may not believe they are suited to overseas sales, or lack the confidence to pursue them; a lack of knowledge or capacity to pursue exporting opportunities; issues such as customs procedures, non-tariff barriers and local regulations; and access to trade and export finance.
– HM Government
Whilst this is doubtless true, issues such as export tariffs, paperwork and shipping delays seem much more tangible and obstructive. And what is worrying is the extent to which, when dealing with the EU in any case, these may become more onerous after Brexit as we wrote about last week.
Finally, one thing that is striking about the export strategy, if you have the inclination and time to read it through, is quite how little space or attention is given to online trade, ecommerce and the like. It’s almost as if the government underestimated its importance to the British economy.