Responding to official figures published today showing the UK’s trade deficit widening between January and February, Allie Renison, Head of Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:
“When it comes to trade statistics it’s important to look at the bigger picture. The trade deficit narrowed in the three months to February, boosted by an increase in exports of services and goods to non-EU countries. Over the year to February 2015, the trade deficit fell from £3.1 billion to £2.9 billion, while our trade surplus in services rose from £6.8 billion to £7.5 billion.
“However, our trade deficit in goods with the EU continues to widen, reflecting weak demand caused by prolonged stagnation in the Eurozone. This underlines the need to reorient our focus on key emerging markets, including Asia. The Government should be pushing the EU as hard as possible to secure trade deals with countries where tariffs on goods still matter for British manufacturing exporters.
“The significant drop-off in goods exports to the US, our top country export destination, highlights the need to complete the vital EU-US trade deal currently bogged-down in negotiations. There are significant barriers for UK firms looking to export to the States, notably the Buy America provisions which keep many British manufacturers from accessing the US public procurement market."