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13th December 2023

Chambers react to latest trade figures

The ONS has released the latest data for imports and exports.

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

“We welcome the positive direction of the latest trade figures: the value of goods imports increasing by 8.2% with rises in imports from both EU and non-EU countries and the value of goods exports increasing by 1.2% with rises in exports to non-EU countries.

“With China, Germany and the United States as the top trading partners of the UK for imports, and the United States, the Netherlands and Germany as the top trading partners for exports, it will be interesting to see what impact and opportunities new trade agreements, such as those with Australia and New Zealand which came into force earlier this year, and membership of the CPTPP will bring for businesses trading internationally.

“42% of businesses in Wales identified access to new international markets as an opportunity in our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3 of 2023. It is important that businesses receive support and guidance so that they can successfully trade and expand their market reach.”

William Bain, BCC Head of Trade Policy, said: 

“Weak economic growth globally, but particularly in Europe, continues to affect UK trade in this last quarter of 2023. While it is good to see goods exports picking up in the Indo-Pacific region, the second successive big drop to the EU is a major concern.

“The picture for imports was more positive. There was a noticeable pick-up in demand for cars, and electrical manufactured goods in the run up to Christmas. On services, the picture is steady, but the strong export growth experienced in 2022 has faded.

“Against this background, we would urge policymakers in the UK to take further measures to support exports, especially to the EU. We will be releasing our latest recommendation next week in our new report ‘The TCA: 3 Years On’.”

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