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Decisive Support Measures Needed to Mitigate Uncertainty for Exporters

Corin CraneCommenting on the trade statistics and key short-term indicators for April 2018, published this week by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “While there was a slight monthly pick-up in construction output, the longer-term trends confirm continued weakness, and together with the widening in the UK’s trade deficit and weakening industrial output, point to a bleak start to the second quarter. While we still expect that UK GDP growth will pick-up in Q2, as economic activity rebounds from the bad weather in Q1, growth is likely to remain under pressure in the medium term.

“The deterioration in the UK’s trade position in April is a concern and means that the UK’s trade deficit remains significantly higher than the historical average. This deterioration largely reflects a marked decline in exports in the month. 

“It is possible that the UK is now moving past the recent sweet spot for exporters, with growth in key markets moderating and the impact of the post-EU referendum slump in sterling, which has helped some exporters, subsiding. The possibility of an escalating trade war has added to the downside risks for exporters.

“More must be done to support UK exporters by addressing longstanding issues, from the lack of practical support for exporters to chronic skills shortages.”

Also commenting on the ONS trade statistics, Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “Trade has again been headline news in recent weeks. With the announcement from the US government that EU countries would not be exempt from steel and aluminium tariffs and continued confusion over the UK’s future customs arrangement with the EU.

“Uncertainty around future trade policy and trading relationships risks undermining the fantastic work that Black Country businesses do. More than ever, Black Country and UK businesses require strong, decisive decisions from policy-makers in government.

“As Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) for the Black Country, we have access to a range of materials and resources that businesses may find useful on issues such as trade and customs arrangements, EU law and regulatory frameworks. Currently housed in the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre, we will be taking our mobile walk-in centre across the Black Country, engaging with business and citizens, answering questions over the most pressing Brexit-related issues.”

For more information on how EDIC Black Country can help you please contact 01902 912336 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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