Although it has been overshadowed by the tortured Brexit negotiation process, much of the government’s hope for post-Brexit prosperity rests on the ability of the UK’s exporters to take advantage of new and growing international markets.
While the UK’s export performance has been reasonably solid in recent years – export growth has outperformed broader economic growth since 2010, increasing from 28.2% of GDP to 30.5% in 2017 -this progress is softer than might be hoped. In the last few years, there has been a steady increase in trade barriers erected by large economies – almost 400 between 2012 and 2016. Coupled with the ongoing trade friction between the US and its trading partners, UK exporters are facing a challenging international environment. The Office for Budget Responsibility expects the contributions that exports make to UK GDP to fall significantly by 2022. The Government’s Export Strategy released today is the first part of a plan to turn around this anticipated decline and boost the UK’s export performance.