Helping Suffolk businesses abroad
26 Jan 2011
Membership of the Suffolk International Trade Group (SITG), a collaboration between Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and UKTI East, continues to grow as Suffolk businesses strive to overcome overseas trade obstacles. In a recent report by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) 16% of businesses reported that limited knowledge prevented them from exporting.
Commenting on the report, Suffolk Chamber Chief Executive, John Dugmore stated:
“British exports haven’t grown as predicted despite the competitive valuation of sterling. The free local export support and peer-to-peer networking offered by SITG is critical in helping Suffolk businesses break down trade barriers. Exporting is central to many manufacturing businesses who often find that the home market is too small for sustained growth.”
While the UK is the 7th largest manufacturer in the world, it has witnessed a decline in its overall global share. For many manufacturing firms, lack of trade finance is a key barrier to exporting. Problems during the recession, coupled with a lack of access to export finance for riskier markets, have left many British exporters in a weak position compared to rivals from exporting nations with access to state-backed schemes.
Recommendations for improving exports amongst manufacturing firms include the creation of a state-backed trade credit insurance scheme; the broadening and simplification of R&D Tax Credits; clarification around the impact of a reduction of Capital and Investment Allowances on manufacturing firms; and improved education and better promotion of UK trade.
In the survey of 500 companies:
- 27% of respondents said that they didn’t export at all, while a further 15% only made 10% or less of their turnover from international trade
- A third (34%) exported over half their turnover; 39% exported under half, and a fifth (20.3%) exported under 20%.
- Nearly half of businesses (47%) who don’t export believe there is sufficient business in the UK for their needs, while almost a quarter (23%) did not have a suitable export product. 16% said it was because they had a limited knowledge of exporting.
- 46% of exporters said that their export volumes had grown during the past five years, while only 11% said they had shrunk. For 41%, export volumes have stayed the same.
- 82% of firms identified export controls as an issue for their manufacturing and export potential; followed by the price of sterling, regulation and access to finance.
- UK manufacturers called for continued low interest rates (38%); better export support from the Government (33%); and improved access to growth capital (22%) to help them grow.
Commenting, David Frost, the BCC’s Director General, said:
“Britain’s manufacturing industry is alive and well; strong, productive and innovative. No longer the Cinderella sector, it is the powerhouse of the UK and will play a vital part in securing our future economic growth. But this revival has to be lasting and sustainable. The Government must prescribe the right policies to encourage growth and allow manufacturers to export their way out of the recession."
If your business is looking for export opportunities – especially in high-growth developing markets, the Suffolk International Trade Group is free to join and offers free quarterly meetings.
To find out more about the group, contact:
0845 6419 941
To book a place at the next SITG meeting which takes place at Aquaeight, 8 Lion St, Ipswich, IP1 1DQ on Thursday 3rd February from 5 – 7pm, please contact:
Or visit the Networking & Events section of:
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