Report highlights UK SME export woes

Posted on 14 Feb 2014 by The Manufacturer

The vast majority of manufacturing businesses in the UK have never traded overseas, despite manufacturing exports bringing over £24bn to the UK economy, according to a new survey.

In the same week where a joint British Chamber of Commerce and DHL Express study showed export confidence at a record high, the findings from currency exchange business Caxton FX show have found the culture of caution over sending goods abroad still existing.

Commissioned as part of its new campaign Business without Borders, which explores the obstacles and opportunities many SMEs face when looking to do business overseas, the survey which questioned a 1000 SMEs in total, found only 7% of manufacturing businesses questioned had exported overseas.

When asked why, more than 27% said the greatest obstacle faced was identifying local contacts, while a third (36%) referenced a lack of knowledge about trading overseas, a figure repeated in those wanting to avoid the perceived mountain of red tape.

Rupert Lee-Browne, founder & CEO at Caxton FX, said: “Government figures show that manufacturing businesses generate more than a tenth of the UK’s exports, making the sector vital to Britain’s economic recovery and full of potential for further growth,” he said.

“The UK economy is finally showing signs of improvement, therefore it’s crucial that manufacturing businesses – both large and small – have the confidence to go out there and discover new global opportunities.”

Mr Lee-Browne added: “It’s never been easier to source local contacts overseas and manage the process of currency exchange. Now is the time for the manufacturing sector to lead an exporting explosion in Britain.”