Businesses fail to exploit potential

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British businesses with massive export potential are still holding back from looking overseas, according to HSBC.

The bank, which has set up an Export Advisory Council, made up of companies that either trade overseas or have aspirations to do so, says there are a number of significant issues facing potential exporters.

It has now launched a ‘Manifesto for British Exports,’ which sets out a series of recommendations for the Government.

Proposals include establishing ‘Welcome Centres’ in key markets overseas and across the UK, improving access to export credit guarantees for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and considering introducing export tax credits for SMEs.

HSBC calls for a “single, clear, authoritative source of advice and assistance for British exporters” to be established and improved access to language training, with a focus on the languages spoken in faster growing markets.

The bank also suggests improving access to export credit guarantees to help the Government achieve its target of doubling exports to £1 trillion by 2020

One suggestion which may already be bearing fruit, if Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s recent visit to China is anything to go by, is simplification of the business visa process to make Britain more welcoming.

Antonio Simoes, chief executive, HSBC UK said: “The UK has everything it needs to succeed in the new global economy; our challenge is to deliver on that potential.

“HSBC believes that all interested parties, the Government, trade bodies and commercial organisations like banks, need to come together to make international trade the norm, rather than the exception.”