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13th September 2023

July trade figures are released by the ONS

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

“The latest figures are again a mixed picture for businesses who trade internationally. There has been minimal change: a small fall in goods imports and increase in goods exports.

“However, the differences between trade with the EU and non-EU is significant to note, especially in light of announced changes to border controls and processes. Imports from the EU to the UK were higher than those from non-EU countries, while exports to the EU were lower than to other countries.

“In Q2 of 2023, almost half of businesses in Wales stated that export orders, advanced custom and bookings had remained constant. As the EU is still one of the main trading partners for businesses in Wales, it is important that businesses familiarise themselves with upcoming changes to exporting to the EU such as new sustainability and VAT measures to enable them to continue to export successfully and improve the volume of goods and services exports.”

William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:

“Removing the effects of inflation, goods export volumes grew at a decent pace in July, with a 4.4% month on month increase in sales to the EU.

“But a key concern is the continued slowdown in momentum in UK services exports growth – which accounts for just under half of our overseas trade.  

“The BCC is recommending that an Exports Council is established by the UK Government to use ONS and other trade data to evaluate, review, and take action to improve UK export performance and strategy.

“As the World Trade Organisation’s World Trade Report this week warned of the global economic consequences of moving away from open, free trade we must redouble our efforts to open up markets for UK goods and services.” 

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