Sharp increase in the number of UK SMEs trading internationally

New official data has revealed that there has been a sharp increase in the number of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exporting their products and services to overseas markets.

According to the figures, which were published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of SMEs exporting has increased by 6.6 per cent, rising to approximately 232,000.

Commentators have been keen to point out that this figure represents just shy of 10 per cent of all small businesses in the UK – suggesting that recent Government and industry efforts to encourage more SMEs to explore international trade opportunities have proven successful so far.

The ONS’ Annual Business Survey also reveals that total UK exports have increased significantly year-on-year, rising to £637 billion in September – representative of a 4.4 per cent increase.

Furthermore, it also found that new and start-up businesses are increasingly making the most of export opportunities from the very outset when setting up shop in the UK.

It found that the number of companies less than two-years-old that exported products last year had increased by almost 20 per cent annually, rising to around 47,000.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, said: “Today’s news is further evidence that the high-quality goods and services produced by British businesses are selling all over the world.

“As an international economic department, when my Ministerial team and I travel abroad, we see first-hand the unprecedented demand for British products, and the results of the Annual Business Survey show that we are responding to the demand.

“Our Export Strategy sets out an offer to every business that has the ambition to start exporting or increase their existing operation, as we look to move exports as a percentage of GDP from 30 per cent to 35 per cent.”

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