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

“These figures show a further welcome increase in exports. However, imports have risen more strongly, the trade deficit has widened, and it is clear that the much-needed rebalancing of the economy towards export-led growth is not progressing quickly enough.     

“Given the favourable international environment for British exporters, with a competitive sterling exchange rate and global growth edging up, our overall trading performance is not strong enough.

“To strengthen Britain’s international trading position, the government should back our exporters more forcefully - as many of our competitors are doing - and adopt measures aimed at ensuring that adequate trade finance is available.”