The strategy will see the government produce smarter and more tailored support for UK companies selling overseas

The strategy will see the government produce smarter and more tailored support for UK companies selling overseas

The UK Government has set out plans to make Britain a "21st Century exporting superpower" through better use of overseas networks, online tools and business-to-business networking.

International trade secretary Dr Liam Fox MP, today (21 August) joined Baroness Fairhead, minister of state for trade and export promotion, in outlining the government's long-term ambition to increase total exports as a proportion of GDP to 35%.

Responding to a call from business, the strategy will see the government produce smarter and more tailored support for UK companies selling overseas.

New measures include developing great.gov.uk into a single digital platform for both domestic business growth and export support and working with large companies to help build the capability of UK supply chains. The government will also assess financial incentives and signposting as a means to support SMEs access new markets and private sector export support.

An awareness campaign will also be deployed to target UK exporters most likely to benefit from up to GBP50bn worth of export finance and insurance support from UK Export Finance, and promoting UKEF support in overseas markets to help UK companies and consortia win contracts.

"The United Kingdom is a great exporting nation and our exporters lead the way, in creating jobs, raising wages and growing our economy," said Dr Fox. "UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower.

"As an international economic department, we are determined to support, connect and grow UK companies on the world stage through our international network. As we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this export strategy will help us achieve."

The government says its new network of HM Trade Commissioners will help improve government-to-government relationships to reduce tariff and market access barriers as we leave the EU.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), said the strategy was "a timely signal" that the government was committed to improving the UK's competitiveness. "The CBI strongly supports the ambition to make exports 35% of GDP, which will put the UK out in front of many of our international competitors," she said.

"We estimate that in every region of the country there are around 10% of businesses that could export, but don't, and we look forward to working alongside the government to support and inspire them to seize the opportunity."

Last year GBP620bn of goods and services exported by British companies accounted for 30% of the country's GDP, with UK exports at a record high, according to figures from the Department for International Trade.