• The deficit on trade in goods and services was £2.1bn in February 2014, marginally below the £2.2bn in January
  • There was a deficit of £9.1bn on goods, partly offset by a surplus of £7.0bn on services
  • Exports of goods fell by 1.6% between January and February 2014, while imports fell by 2.2% in the same period
  • BCC’s new economic survey published this week shows that service sector exports are at an all time high

Commenting on the UK trade statistics for February 2014, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“It is good news that the trade deficit improved marginally in February. Longer-term trends however show that while our net trading position is gradually improving, the pace is far too slow for what the economy needs. Our new economic survey shows that our members are enthusiastic about increasing their exports, but much more needs to be done if this enthusiasm is to be reflected in the national figures.

“Judging by present trends it will be incredibly hard to meet the Prime Minister’s export target of increasing exports to £1tn by 2020. The recent announcement by the Chancellor that the Bank of England will make a contribution to supporting export finance is welcome, but much more needs to be done. We need to match the resources committed by our major competitors if we are to compete on a level-playing field when exporting overseas.”

In the context of Export Week, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s trade mission to Brazil, John Longworth added:

“The huge optimism we see amongst exporters is further boosted by the drive to support them from the highest levels of government.

“The fact that the Chancellor used his trip to Brazil this week to announce more support for mid-sized exporters is a crucial shot in the arm for the very companies that can really drive Britain’s push into new markets.

“We at the BCC are proud to be doing our part, too, by working in partnership with Lord Livingston, UKTI and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to develop and accredit British Chambers and business groups in 41 high-growth countries worldwide. This partnership is providing British companies entering new markets with practical advice, support and new business connections each and every day.”