Our New Prime Minister and International Trade in the UK

8th September 2022

Congratulation to Liz Truss, leader of the Conservative Party, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

There are many issues Mrs Truss will have to grapple with, not least the current situation regarding the balance of trade and our trading prospects looking ahead.

In the last SITC blog we looked at the 5 urgent issues at the top of the new Prime Minister's in tray. That blog can be seen here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6963054723369164801/

The latest ONS data, published on 12th August 2022 https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/bulletins/uktrade/june2022 gives us the picture for June 2022, and that picture was overall disappointing in what was looking like a strong second quarter for the year.

Our exports fell by 8% in value terms for the month generated by a multifactor range of goods. With many negative outside influences but significantly the economic data we are all aware of, it is showing signs of weakening our trade relations with the EU further.

The UK government is putting measures into place to support international trade growth, but Mrs Truss must review her policies to deliver real and tangible growth to the UK PLC’s export strategy.

To build up the picture, April and May each produced 7.4% growth on the exports of UK goods, June however revealed an 8% slide.  Exports of goods to the EU were down by 3.9% and non-EU down by 11.9%. In cumulated value, the overall trade deficit widened by £2bn in Q2 to a total of £27.9bn (including the inflation effect). Was June the start of a trend? It is so easy to be negative and we must wait a few more weeks until the end of Q3.

But let’s stay positive, South Yorkshire manufacturers produce world class goods followed up with excellent international customer service, brilliant quality, and delivery profiles. Our products carry a massive demand as in ‘Made in Sheffield’, Made in Yorkshire’ and ‘Made in the UK’. I speak to many manufacturing companies each month and the majority by far say they are busy; this is backed up by SITC’s results year to date.

Exporting our products generate wealth by bringing new money into the country. The UK’s manufacturing and service sectors are the wealth creators. Now more than ever, the new PM and her government must provide the leadership and ingenuity to ensure June is not the beginning of a trend.

Comments made by Sarah Howard, the chair of the British Chambers of Commerce following the new PM announcement can be seen here: https://www.scci.org.uk/news/new-prime-minister-must-take-immediate-action-to-support-business/

Please note: Our Quarterly Economic Survey is now live. Please raise your voices and get heard. These surveys feed directly into the BCC which highlights the most pressing issues to the government. The QES is your voice to Liz Truss – please use it! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RVQRHN3

For more information and any kind of international trade help and assistance please contact the Sheffield International Trade Centre: International@scci.org.uk or call 0114 308 1740

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