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Brexit Europe & Trade Policy publications - Brexit Campaigns

Going global - Trends in trade

17 Apr 2018

colourful cratesThis report uses data from surveys of IoD members to identify trends in exporting activities. The findings show that an impressive two-thirds of IoD members say their business engages in outbound international trade. This is higher than the 57% proportion that indicated this in 2013, and it significantly outstrips the national UK average. 

As well as being the largest regional market for most exporting businesses, the EU was also where most exporting IoD members report having seen the most growth over the past two years, with more pointing to the EU than Asia and North America combined.

A majority (67%) of internationally active members say Brexit will not be a catalyst for stepping up non-EU market engagement. 40% of company directors say it will have no impact, while around a quarter (27%) report they were already in the process of expansion as a result of EU exit. However, just under a quarter report that they were already in the process of further expansion as a result of EU exit.

Firms that do not currently export are more likely to choose the EU as their first port of call - more than all the other regional markets combined - when they decide to export. Amongst those currently engaged in international trade, the EU remains by far the largest market in terms of turnover share.

Services constitute the majority of members’ exporting activities; although a notably higher share of manufacturing businesses are engaged in overseas trade. Firms trading in goods are much more likely than services traders to start exporting as part of an overall growth strategy.   

The report also puts forward recommendations for the Department for International Trade and other governmental departments, as well as industry associations, to help drive UK exports and achieve the ambition of a 'global Britain'. 

Going Global - full report

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