Latest comments from the industry on CBI recommendations

Posted on 22 Nov 2011
Mark Edmonds, managing director at Gripple
Mark Edmonds, managing director at Gripple

Tom Moore rounds up commentary from the industry after the CBI put its recommendations to the government.

Mark Edmonds, managing director at Gripple, an agricultural tools manufacturer, commented on three CBI recommendations.

On the idea to create a tax credit to incentivize exploratory export activity to boost entry into BRIC economies – Brazil, India, Russia and China – he reacted:

“A system of tax credits to offset the cost of exploratory activity would certainly be welcome. Developing economies such as China, Russia, Brazil and India represent a sizeable chunk of global GDP, but the ease of doing business, and establishing a business in any of these markets, is a far cry from Western Europe. The government could certainly do more to smooth the way.”

On the idea to create and develop regional export clubs to share knowledge and experience, Mr Edmonds said:

“Regional export clubs are a good idea, but a network of this sort should be central to local chambers of commerce. The UK represents only 3-4% of world GDP, so 97% of the subject matter should concern international markets.”

Regarding the announcement to introduce an export enabling test for all new legislation, Mr Edmonds responded: “An ‘export enabling test for legislation’ sounds like a civil servant gravy train. We’ve had far too much of that in the past. We need someone at the department for business, innovation and skills (BIS) who has worked in the manufacturing industry and understands what it takes to succeed in internationally competitive markets.”

He added: “The drive to raise UK exports from 29% of GDP to 36% is a big step in the right direction. Germany is at 40%, Switzerland and Sweden, 50%, Holland close to 70% so we certainly need to aim higher!”

Past comments:

Alan Pickering, managing director at Unison
Alan Pickering, managing director at Unison

Alan Pickering, managing director at Unison, a Scarborough-based manufacturer of tube bending machines, commented:

“Exporting into mainland Europe is extremely difficult, they have a much more patriotic nature. For example, if a German company can buy from a German company, they will, even if it is an inferior product. In the UK we are much more price sensitive and have no loyalty. Looking at our car industry and what happened to the Bombardier contract, albeit a Canadian owned company, British jobs were sacrificed for German jobs – it is crazy.

The rest of the world still recognises the innovations that British Engineers bring to the table and are more open to our offerings.

The British Government needs to help small businesses finance these deals. We don’t seem to have the expert knowledge in how to plot our way through the mechanisms required, such as letters of credit.”

Sharon Lane, general manager, Tees Components, said:

“Our established markets are in North America, Western Europe and the Middle East. Whilst we are well established in these markets, any assistance that could be given for us to try to break into developing markets would be welcome.”

Tom Moore