Increasing exports of high-tech and communications goods from the UK will give the economy a £20bn boost by 2020, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
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According to a report titled Winning overseas: boosting business export performance by the CBI and Ernst & Young, high-tech goods and communications services have been identified as areas with high export growth potential.
Electrical, optical and high-tech goods account for 15% of UK manufacturing exports. However, the report said the UK is currently losing out to international competitors and is under-prepared to take advantage of high-growth market trade in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC).
“Our inability to break into and succeed in high-growth markets is due to a historic mismatch between the goods and services we currently sell and those demanded by high-growth economies,” said Steve Varley, UK and Ireland managing partner at Ernst & Young.
The report said the UK loses out to Germany in terms of service exports to BRIC. Germany exported $12.7bn in 2009, compared with the UK’s $12.3bn.
“By tailoring products to specific markets, supported by strong high-quality business intelligence guiding them every step of the way, businesses can enhance their export performance and boost the UK economy,” said Varley.
The Confederation of British Industry said there is evidence that UK supply and demand in BRIC in is starting to align and called for the government to increase the percentage of UK exports to the region from 4% to 11% by 2020.
CBI’s advice to government included greater promotion of studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at school to help businesses remain internationally competitive.
In addition, CBI suggested setting a single online portal for businesses to access government export services.
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