The Week in Trade: Autumn Statement, troubles at sea and JFK, 60 years on

Thu 23 Nov 2023
Posted by: Danielle Keen
News and coffee

As the dust settled on the APEC conference in San Francisco, we all turned our attention to the shock Argentinian election victory of outsider candidate Javier Milei, and the less shocking announcements found in the Autumn Statement.

In IOE&IT news, the first manufacturing special interest group was launched on Tuesday (21 November), bringing together expert insight from Professor Manoj Dora, director of the Centre for Intelligent Supply Chains, and IOE&IT’s UK manufacturing lead, Paul Brooks, alongside industry representatives.

The big picture: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the UK’s Autumn Statement yesterday (22 November), with commentators who predicted that fiscal headroom would be earmarked for business growth vindicated.

“Full expensing” provisions, making business investment entirely tax-deductible, were extended, and SMEs were offered support though a further freeze on business rates and reduced NI payments. A total £4.5bn in investment for strategic sectors like aerospace and electric vehicles (EVs) also caught our eye.

Good week/bad week: There was even more good news for UK car manufacturers, as French trade minister Olivier Becht voiced objections to the January implementation of EV tariffs. Speaking to the FT, he said that “the UK is the number one market for European production with a growing demand for EVs and many opportunities for our companies, so of course we will be attentive to the solutions that can solve this issue”. Despite support from other car manufacturing nations like Germany, France had previously disapproved of plans to extend a delay to the levy.

Not so good news for many ships across many seas, as storms in the Black Sea claimed lives, a hijacking in the Red Sea disrupted trade and the South China Sea has remained the site of ongoing tensions between China and other Asia-Pacific nations.

How’s stat? 14.6% - the decrease in trade between South Korea and the UK between 2022 and 2023, something that will hopefully be reversed by the new trade deal in the works this week, as president Yoon Suk-Yeol visits London.

The week in customs: Fresh guidance has been released by the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) in response to an increased volume of queries to its End User Advisory Service. The service allows exporters to seek advice on whether their goods may need a licence due to the potential for military end use.

If you’re concerned your goods could be used to create a weapon of mass destruction, more information is available here.

Quote of the week: “The Autumn Statement gives businesses the certainty to invest in the future, cuts costs through lower taxes, and provides small and medium-sized businesses with greater confidence that they will be paid on time.”

Business and Trade secretary Kemi Badenoch, speaking after the chancellor delivered the Autumn Statement on 22 November.

What else we covered this week:

Phillip Adnett brought us news from Latin American trade and politics, along with an overview of what’s happening in the world of shipping.

Benjamin Roche covered the Arab British Economic Summit, including IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione chairing a discussion on the future of UK-GCC trade relations.

True facts: Yesterday marked the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The media has been abuzz with coverage ranging from the mystery surrounding the motivation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, to a counterfactual account of how Kennedy’s presidency could have played out if he had lived and Politico’s attempt to dispense with mythologising and give a more balanced account of JFK’s presidency.