Suffolk: Chamber export campaign endorsed by Trade Minister Lord Green

Trade Minister Lord Green

Trade Minister Lord Green - Credit: Archant

Success in export markets is vital for the long-term health of the British economy, Trade Minister Lord Green has told business leaders during a visit to Suffolk.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, held at Ufford Park, near Woodbridge, the former HSBC chairman welcomed the chamber’s 2013 theme of “Exporting is Good for Suffolk”, adding: “I hope it will be the theme for the next 25 years, because it is a nationally challenge which we have to face, and stick with.”

He said the the lesson from the 2008 financial crisis was that a reliance on consumer spending, supported by increasing consumer debt, was not a sustainable model for growth.

Given the state of the public finances, it was also clear that government spending could not drive growth either.

A new model for growth based on exports was required, enabling the UK to take advantage of those parts of the world, notably Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and, increasingly, Africa, where substantial economic growth was occurring, he said.

This growth was not a “flash in the pan” but was consistent with the normal pattern for nations involved in the process of industrialisation and represented a major opportunity for British businesses.

Investment in infrastructure in fast-growing economies meant demand for technical services while the emergence of a middle class was resulting in demand for household goods and designer fashion.

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Lord Green said “Brand Britain” remained popular in many countries, with last year’s Olympics having delivered a further boost to the nation’s profile, and both UK Trade and Investment and Suffolk Chamber were available to help businesses break into new markets overseas.

And he added: “There is compelling evidence that companies which get into export markets become materially more efficient than those which don’t. Exporting is good for a company.”

Meeting Government targets for increasing the number of British firms engaged in exporting would not only address the balance of payments issue which had been a feature of the UK since the 1960 but would also strengthen the entire economy for the long term.