Commenting on the trade figures for February, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"These figures are encouraging, with trade in both goods and services recording positive trends. There was a significant improvement in our trade with non-EU countries, which helped to offset a small worsening in our deficit with the EU. This pattern must be reinforced. While the EU will remain our major trading partner for some time, it is important for our exporters to increase their presence in faster growing markets such as China, India and Brazil.   

“The Government must do what it can to allow exporters to compete on equitable terms in key areas such as trade finance, insurance and promotion. Small- and medium-sized firms are not given enough support when looking to trade abroad and this must change if we are to see a sustained, export-led recovery.”

“Since the Government’s tough deficit-cutting plan will dampen domestic demand, Britain’s recovery will depend highly on continued improvements in our international trading position. The growth we have seen in exports must be sustained and accelerated, and more UK companies must look to sell their goods overseas.