Goods trade gap widened to £7.66 billion in March from £6.99 billion in February 

Commenting on the trade figures for March published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 

“The trade figures for March indicate a widening of the trade deficit and a decline in exports, which is disappointing. While there has been a long-term improvement in Britain’s trading position, recent figures have not been as strong as they should be. For example, there has been a large increase in the deficit with non-EU countries. Our exporters need a stronger presence in fast-growing markets outside Europe such as China, India and Brazil.  

“As the Government looks to reduce the deficit, businesses will see domestic demand weaken. Achieving sustained economic growth relies on improving our international trading position. A recent BCC survey showed that nearly 70 percent of UK firms do not currently export. Promoting the interests of British companies and ensuring they can compete on equitable terms in areas such as trade finance and insurance is vital. We will look to the Government to keep its promises on trade promotion, particularly for small- and medium-sized firms who need support finding new markets for their products. Continued low interest rates will also encourage a competitive exchange rate, helping companies compete overseas.”