A new survey finds that too few companies in the UK have strategic plans to grow exports, making the government’s target of £1tn of exports a year by 2020 highly unlikely.
Export growth will need to triple in the next six years for the government’s 2020 target to be reached. But the latest International Trade Survey conducted by Trade and Export Finance and AIG finds that only one in eight respondents (12.5%) have plans to enter new markets. 44% said that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on their business.
57% of the 2,853 respondent companies don’t see the importance in training staff in international trade, despite an understanding of the dependence on trade more broadly.
The survey also reveals that government support for export finance is not being maximised. 53% of respondents have not been offered support from any of the government’s funding initiatives and 27% aren’t even aware of the schemes. One in eight require financing, and 30% are not using bank finance.
During the survey’s London launch, Trade and Export Finance CEO Mark Runiewicz told the audience and GTR that government support for exports, delivered through UK Export Finance and UKTI and managed by the Chamber of Commerce, still has a very long way to go to make companies aware of the services on offer.
In a Q&A after the launch, head of trade credit UK at AIG and chairman of the trade credit committee at the ABI, Will Clark, said: “I am concerned about the lack of exporters using these services, especially UKEF.”
“The fact that so much money, time and energy has gone into these campaigns – the Great Britain campaign, UKEF – I’m wondering whether they are targeting companies in the right way” added IOE director general Lesley Batchelor.