- New Government-led research outlines huge benefits of trade to UK jobs and prosperity. Roles linked to exports are 21 per cent more productive and 7 per cent higher paying.
- It is published alongside a new Board of Trade report, which sets out recommendations to unleash the UK’s full exporting potential and propel jobs and growth across the country.
- The Board of Trade prescribes deeper trade liberalisation, new trade deals and boosting the UK’s role as a global services and data trade hub as the keys to driving jobs-led recovery from Covid-19.
New research released (on Wednesday, 10th March) estimates nearly 6.5 million jobs in the UK are supported by exports.
Commissioned by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) at the University of Strathclyde, it lifts the lid on the value of exporting-led jobs to the UK economy and helps inform the discussion around the untapped exporting potential of businesses across the country.
This ground-breaking research estimates that median wages in jobs directly and indirectly supported by exports were around 7 per cent higher than the national median and that more jobs (3.7 million) are supported by exports to the rest of the world than to the EU (2.8 million).
“Brexit is an opportunity to look out into the wider world. As Global Britain it’s right for the Department for International Trade to help UK firms seek further opportunities worldwide.
“As an island trading nation we need to use this moment to restate our position as an outward-looking country and the Government is right to focus on this.
“As part of our recovery from the pandemic the UK can be a champion of free trade and the prosperity it brings.”
The Office for National Statistics also estimates that goods exporting businesses are 21 per cent more productive than those who do not. It provides a clear rationale for pursuing an exports-led recovery from Covid and using trade liberalisation to boost strategic industries – such as services, tech and renewables – that are key to building back better from the pandemic.
The FAI research estimates the number of jobs supported by exports at a regional level. The DIT is exploring how it could develop data that can provide similar insights at an even more local level.
An additional paper released shows the number of jobs supported by nationally export intensive industries, broken down by parliamentary constituency. This does not show how many jobs at the local level are export intensive, because local activity can vary significantly from the national average. But the information can act as a starter for a conversation until more granular estimates becomes available.
It shows that in Crawley there were some 33,445 jobs (34.9 per cent of the total) in industries that were export intensive at a national level in 2019.
The research is accompanied by a new Board of Trade report – Global Britain, Local Jobs – that prescribes a series of policy fixes to unlock the UK’s full exporting potential and propel a trade-led, jobs-led recovery from Covid-19. This includes:
- Boosting the UK’s role as a global hub for services and digital trade.
- Pursuing new trade deals with large and fast-growing economies beyond Europe, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.
- Greater support to help businesses internationalise, and adopt new export targets.
The Board – which is led by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss – argues the UK’s departure from the EU is an opportunity to deepen trade liberalisation and boost the role trade plays in the economy. It argues the UK should follow the likes of Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, who have all used trade liberalisation to spur growth and capture global market share.
The report advocates deeper trade ties with faster growing nations outside Europe, with 65 per cent of the world’s middle classes set to be in the Asia-Pacific by 2030 and nearly 90 per cent of world growth expected to be outside the EU in the next five years.
It recommends the UK ‘ride’ the digital and green waves, highlighting the UK’s comparative advantage in those industries, with the exporting potential of the green economy set to be £170 billion per year by 2030, and argues the UK should lead the charge for a more modern, fair and green WTO by working with like-minded allies on issues such as industrial subsidies.
The Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, said;
“This report shows how Global Britain will deliver jobs and growth across the UK.
“Export-led jobs are more productive and higher paying, but currently too few businesses export and our economy would benefit from being more international. This potential can be liberated through more trade deals, boosting our role as global hub for digital and services trade, and by pursuing policies that drive an exports-led recovery.
“The opportunity we have as an independent trading nation is huge. Today’s report outlines how we can do things differently and capitalise on defining trends like the emergence of Asia’s middle classes and rapid growth in the Indo-Pacific.”