Trade Matters: The Contribution of Trade to UK Prosperity

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Added: Date: 12/02/2021

The Contribution of Trade to UK Prosperity

This report is the next chapter in our trade series which looks at the way the UK trades today, how our superstar exporters dominate the UK trading world, and how intermittent exporters could learn lessons from their dominant counterparts, while ultimately boosting their own productivity and innovation.

The foundations of the report come from the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Business Prosperity at Aston Business School which looks at productivity and innovation. We combined this with polling and interviews with customers and leaders across varying industries to explore the challenges that are facing Britain’s importers and exporters.

The topics covered include:

The way the UK trades today

Britain exported £684 billion worth of goods and services around the globe in 2019 and remains one of the largest economies in the world, delivering significant economic value in both importing and exporting. 

The report finds that 58% of British businesses continue to remain hugely optimistic about the UK’s future of international trading, with 77% agreeing Britain is a strong importer and 80% believing it’s a strong importer. However, this sits alongside a number of business confidence paradoxes where 64% of UK businesses agree that we are slipping down the global value chain and 80% believe we need to redefine our role on the international stage.

The value of superstar exporters

Britain’s place in the world of global trading can be attributed to a few ‘superstar exporters’ - the top 10% of exporters who are responsible for 90% of total UK export value. These superstar exporters tend to be larger in size, more capital intensive and pay higher wages.

Over half (55%) of UK businesses polled believe that businesses who trade internationally are more productive, 71% say they have more growth opportunities and 35% believe UK businesses are well prepared to capitalise on future international opportunities.

Intermittent exporters - the next generation of superstars

Intermittent exporters are those firms who dip in and out of exporting but who have the potential to grow into consistent exporting with the help of their superstar counterparts. By taking the opportunities to learn, innovate and become more productive from their bigger, more capital intensive peers, it is estimated that 10% of intermittent exporters could add over £4.4 billion to UK exports if they moved to consistent trading. 

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Related links

British Trade Report

Read the first British Trade report to delve into more insights into how British businesses have increased trade diversion away from the EU due to Brexit.

Brexit Hub

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International Trade

Global trade services your business can rely on whatever your size.

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