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Experts welcome export changes

02/04/14

Changes to UK export regulations are being welcomed by specialists, who claim that efforts by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) are starting to pay dividends and extra funding announced by chancellor George Osborne in the recent Budget is "a positive step".

However, lord mayor of London Fiona Woolf has warned the UK faces falling behind the rest of the world unless further urgent action is taken.

She explained that Britain has historically "punched above its weight" as a small island nation regarding global trade and commerce, with exports driving the economy since Roman times.

Writing a City Matters piece for CityAM, Ms Woolf pointed out that although exports to non-EU countries from the UK had risen by 23 per cent since 2010, nations such as Germany are performing even better and "the chancellor was absolutely right last week, when he stressed the need to up our game during his Budget statement".

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) echoed Ms Woolf's sentiments in its reaction to Mr Osborne's 2014 Budget, stating that it will "put wind in the sails of business investment, especially for
manufacturers" and "will help businesses hungry to invest and export".

On UK Export Finance, the business organisation suggested plans to double the direct lending scheme and reduce interest rates will strengthen British sales overseas and called on ministers to promote schemes more effectively to fast-growing companies.

Ms Woolf also praised the chancellor for increasing the UK Export Finance programme to £3 million, stating it will enable firms to "succeed in key overseas markets".

"I have just returned from Turkey, where I saw first-hand the stellar work that UKTI is doing to identify opportunities for British firms to share knowledge and best practice – from infrastructure finance to legal services," she explained.

In addition, the CBI pointed to the decision to simplify air passenger duty and reduce it on a series of long-haul flights as assisting those selling internationally, but insisted that more still had to be done to "cut costs on short- and long-haul routes and help exporters get a leg up in new markets".

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