• UK trade deficit in goods and services was £2.6bn in April 2013, down from £3.2bn in March
• There was a deficit of £8.2bn in goods in April, partly offset by a surplus of £5.6bn in services
• The value of UK exports fell by 1.3% between March and April 2013, but there was a bigger (2.7%) fall in imports in the same period
Commenting on the UK trade figures for April 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:“Although it is good news that the trade deficit has declined in April, the gap between imports and exports remains too large, and we are not yet making sufficient progress in closing it. It is concerning that the trade surplus in services, although large, fell in April, however the rebalancing of the economy towards exports must rely increasingly on services, and recent trends suggest that this can be done. Furthermore, while the eurozone continues to struggle, it is good news that UK exports to non-EU countries has risen, and British exporters must continue their efforts to diversify trade towards new markets.
“More action is needed to unleash the untapped potential of many British exporters, including SMEs in the services sector, so that businesses can drive a sustainable recovery. The government must implement measures it has previously announced to support firms aiming to penetrate new markets. We need a national export strategy focusing on key areas such as trade finance, insurance and promotion.”