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BCC: UK Trade Performance Stuck in Low Gear

  • The UK trade deficit on goods and services in June 2015 was £1.6bn, compared with £0.9bn in May
  • In June 2015, there was a deficit of £9.2bn on goods, partially offset by a surplus of £7.6bn on services
  • In the three months to June 2015, exports to the EU were 9.8% lower than in the same period last year, while exports to non-EU countries were 14.4% higher

Commenting on the UK trade figures for June published by the ONS today, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Despite personal efforts from many members of the government, the UK's export performance remains stuck in low gear - little progress is being made. More radical steps are needed if we are to hit our target of reaching £1 trillion in exports by 2020, as we are currently on target to miss this by 14 years.

"We have to get the basics right to support exporters, including investment in better infrastructure, greater access to finance and improving the skills of our workforce. We also need to make sure that our SMEs have access to on the ground support when they are trying to break into new markets. The British Chambers in the UK and our growing international network are playing our part."

David Kern, Chief Economist of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Although it is disturbing that the trade deficit widened in June, this was from an unusually low shortfall in May.

"Our external deficit is still unacceptably large, particularly if we take into account our overall current account, which includes items other than trade such as investment income.

"While it is welcome news that our exports to non-EU countries are expanding at a healthy pace, much greater progress must be made in this direction.

"Faster progress in closing our trade deficit remains a national priority, and it is vital that the government makes greater efforts to support British exporters. Particular emphasis must be given to help SMEs to penetrate growing markets beyond the EU."

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