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15th February 2024

Chambers react to latest trade figures

The ONS has released the latest trade data for December, with figures detailing goods and services exports and imports.

Paul Butterworth, CEO at Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said:

“It is encouraging to see that imports and exports of services increased in December. However, it is disappointing to see yet another fall in the value of goods imports and exports.

“According to our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 of 2023, almost two thirds of businesses in Wales export to international markets. 44% of businesses saw both export sales and advance orders decrease in Q4.

“Businesses in Wales have identified new markets and new international markets as opportunities to recover and grow so it is important that those firms who wish to trade and make their mark on the global stage receive the support they require, whether that is from specialist teams in our Chamber network or through government programmes.”

William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

 “The UK had another good year for services exports in 2023, showing the strength of that side of our economy. But there will be concern about the drop in goods exports.

“Further measures are needed to address this; more must be done to connect exporters and would-be exporters with customers in markets across Europe and the rest of the world.

“The Government should set up an Exports Council to achieve this. It could work with business to build upon our relative strength in services exports across even more sectors, while providing fresh impetus to improve overseas sales of goods.

“This would be a very welcome step as 2024 is already looking like will a challenging year for international trade. We are yet to see the full effects of Red Sea disruption and patchy global growth is only adding to the uncertainty.”

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