UK's £1trn export target won't be met until 2035, according to government figures

Mon 23 Jan 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

UK trade barometer

The UK will reach its £1trn annual export target 15 years later than originally planned, according to forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Exports minister Andrew Bowie admitted the slip in the target when responding to a Parliamentary question about what the government was doing to increase exports.

The data indicated exports will not reach £1trn until 2035, and will decline to £707bn next year, reports the Daily Express.

Revised timetable

As prime minister, David Cameron originally set the £1trillion target for 2020, before eventual successor Boris Johnson revised the end-date to 2030.

Bowie said “external shocks and a spike in inflation” in the past year had affected the UK’s economic performance, reports the Guardian.

SMEs hit hardest

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) claimed one-in-eight small exporters have temporarily or permanently halted sales to the EU.

FSB policy chair, Tina McKenzie, said: “Trade barriers, including red tape, sluggish economic performance domestically and globally and insufficient export support have led to the continued suppression of exports.”

However, Bowie said the Department for International Trade (DIT) remained committed to growing exports and said it was rolling out the Export Support Service, making export champions more visible and working with SMEs to support exporting. 

Green growth

The boss of the Confederation of British Industry has claimed that the UK is missing out on benefiting from green growth industries.

Tony Danker, its director-general, says that in the past two years the UK has lost £4.3bn in green technology market share and high-skill jobs, reports the Times.

Growth not taxes

Danker said that the incumbent Conservative administration should prioritise green growth over tax policy, reports Bloomberg. He added that the immigration system is exacerbating the labour shortages.

“I share the politicians’ ambition for a high-wage, high-skill economy; but it’s an empty promise. Because we aren’t paying anywhere close to what it takes for higher skills; and we’re not letting immigrants help do the lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs every economy has,” he said.

Speaking on Radio 4 Today this morning, Danker praised prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt for “bringing stability to bear” and fighting inflation “but other countries around the globe are simultaneously fighting inflation and getting growth”.