Export strategy: Details of the CBI’s plans to boost exports

Posted on 21 Nov 2011

A new report by the CBI and Ernst & Young asks the Government to reform its exports strategy so that companies, especially SMEs, can capitalise on new export markets more effectively than they are currently doing.

‘Winning overseas: boosting business export performance’ urges the Government to:

  • introduce an ‘export enabling test’ for all new legislation
  • increase the availability of export credit by diversifying the ways in which firms, especially SMEs can access ECGD products
  • ensure greater commercial focus in UKTI by introducing 50% business appointments on its board
  • use skills policy to help businesses remain innovative and internationally competitive, by promoting the study of STEM and language subjects at school
  • resolve the need for more hub and regional airport capacity
  • introduce a single portal www.exports.gov.uk through which businesses can access all government export services.

And commits the CBI to;

  • establish an export finance taskforce to explore ways of removing barriers to finance, reducing risk and the viability of introducing an export tax credit to incentivise exploratory export activity, which will report in 2012
  • help develop regional exports clubs to share knowledge and experience
  • celebrate the exports success of its members
  • benchmark the UK’s commercial diplomacy offering against our main competitors
  • help shape future trade missions to maximise business outcomes.

The report says the UK possesses five sectors of comparative advantage in exports. Of these the CBI / Ernst & Young research shows:

  • The construction services sector (including design, surveying and procurement expertise) has a 10.8% projected annual growth rate to 2020. Population and tourism growth are fuelling development from housing to public works and transport infrastructure – markets such as Nigeria, India, China, Russia, Vietnam and Indonesia look set to post the highest growth opportunities.
  •  The electrical and optical goods sector has a 10.6% projected annual growth rate to 2020. The high-tech goods sector has 9.3% projected annual growth over the same period. Rising incomes combined with demographic changes mean technologies such as nanotechnology and nano-electronics, life sciences technology, precision instruments and photonics will be increasingly in demand in advanced and new markets alike.
  • The UK is already the world’s leader in digital exports and our communication service sector (including telecommunications, digital output and courier services) has 8.7% projected annual growth rate to 2020. The US will continue to be a key market because of the shared language. However BRIC economies will provide new opportunities in telecommunications and digital content exports.
  • The UK is already a world leader in financial services (including insurance and advisory services, investment expertise and foreign exchange services) and the sector has a projected annual growth rate of 9.4% to 2020. The exporting of these services will follow global growth on trade flows, with the BRICs and Gulf states offering current opportunities.

Winning overseas: boosting business export performance sets out Ernst & Young’s specific business guidance for export success.

The CBI has also published  the findings of new research carried out on its behalf by Ipsos MORI called Economic Challenges Facing UK Business which examines business leaders’ confidence in the economy.