Access to finance is still a barrier to exporting for UK firms, a report by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found.
In its annual International Trade Survey, the BCC found that 60 per cent of potential exporters cited general access to finance as a key factor in their plans to export goods or services.
Additionally, one quarter (24 per cent) of UK businesses preparing to export reported difficulty in accessing trade finance or credit insurance from lenders – products tailored specifically to support firms trading in overseas markets.
Access to finance is an issue for firms of all sizes. Of the 60 per cent of UK firms on the cusp of exporting who stated that securing the right funding was a key consideration in deciding if, when and where they would export to, more than half (57 per cent) were micro firms, 29 per cent were small firms and 14 per cent were medium or large firms.
Despite this, 90 per cent of businesses that are already exporting said further expansion was a priority, indicating that confidence in economic growth was becoming more widespread across the country and that appetite for new expansion was returning.
Accessing the appropriate financial products was crucial to businesses planning to enter export markets, to help cover new costs including market research and product development, and managing the risks around shipping and payment.
North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce president Norman Tenray said: “Our exporters are telling us that it is tough out there with the strong pound and the weakness of the eurozone both affecting demand for Lancashire goods and services overseas.
“And of course it doesn’t help that businesses needing finance to help them export are struggling to access the funding required.
“However new Government measures to support exporters should be a welcome boost and we’re optimistic that the longer term prospects are looking good.”
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “A fundamental revolution in our approach to exporting is needed if we are going to reverse our historic trade deficit, overturn our current account deficit and maintain Britain’s position as a leading global trader.
“We already have world-class products and services that are in demand globally – we now need to ensure the door is open for all UK businesses wanting to trade overseas.
“While support for UK companies to finance exports of goods and services should be further enhanced, we a