“These figures are better-than-expected as they show a lower trade deficit, with underlying exports rising and imports falling. This is good news but there is no room for complacency. The UK is still running a large trade deficit and the challenges facing exporters are substantial.
“A big improvement in our trading position in the years ahead remains a key element in any successful deficit-reduction strategy. With public spending cuts likely to dampen domestic demand, the economy risks declines without a significant improvement in our net exports.
“British exporters must diversify into faster growing emerging markets, notably in Asia. On its part, the Government must ensure UK exporters are not placed at a competitive disadvantage when compared to our major trading rivals, particularly in the area of short-term trade finance.”