Suffolk: Chamber leaders call for national export strategy

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce - Credit: Archant

BUSINESS leaders in Suffolk are demanding the creation of a national export strategy following the latest trade figures published by the Office of National Statistics.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, which running a year-long Exporting is Good for Suffolk campaign that has been backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, have made the call after the UK trade deficit in goods and services was announced at £2.4billion for January 2013 compared with a deficit of £2.8bn in December 2012.

John Dugmore, chief executive at the chamber, said that although the January figure was better than predicted, it remained too large.

“This means we need further action to support exporters, many who live and operate hard working businesses in our county,” he said.

The latest figures also showed that underlying export volumes were unchanged in the three months to January, while import volumes fell by 2% in the same period.

“More effective action is needed to ensure that the considerable untapped potential of many Suffolk based and UK wide exporters can be used to drive a sustainable recovery,” said Peter Funnell, president of Suffolk Chamber. “The Government must implement the measures it has already announced to support companies seeking to break into new markets.

“We clearly need a national export strategy that focuses on key areas such as trade finance, promotion, and insurance, and would enable British companies to compete in the global arena,” Dr Funnell added.

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Suffolk Chamber is hosting events throughout 2013 highlighting the importance of exporting for the Suffolk economy as well training sessions to assist and advise local firms who want to export.

“Exporting is crucial to the Suffolk economy,” said Paul Davey, a Suffolk Chamber board member. “Not only are many businesses in the county already producing goods for export, but Suffolk’s ports provide a gateway to overseas markets for exporters from across the UK.”