Business groups have welcomed Government moves aimed at boosting exports, especially by smaller companies, saying they were “long overdue”.
Ministers said rebalancing and rebuilding the economy will take time as they unveiled a series of “practical first steps” in a Trade and Investment White Paper.
The Government pledged to improve and expand the trade finance and insurance products it offers to firms, increase UK Trade and Investment’s focus on emerging markets and launch an online service offering access to sales leads around the world.
There was also a pledge to try again to finalise the Doha round of trade negotiations, which ministers said would deliver a £110 billion a year boost to the global economy, adding that 2011 was the “make or break year”.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Trade and inward investment are key drivers of growth – they are fundamental to rebuilding and rebalancing our economy.
“Improving the finance and insurance products that oil the wheels of trade, exempting small and medium sized enterprises from unnecessary EU regulation, an ambitious programme of Free Trade Agreements, finalising the Doha round – these are practical measures to help drive growth.”
Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, said: “Trade is the greatest wealth creator known to man. Free trade drives growth which in turn gives people in developing countries the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.
“The Trade and Investment White Paper marks a redoubling of the UK Government’s efforts to enable developing countries to follow their own paths to growth through trade and investment.”
CBI director general John Cridland said the new forms of financial support were good news for business, and long overdue, adding: “They will help UK companies step up export activity which is vital to deliver private sector growth and drive the economic recovery.
“Many of these new finance products are already on offer by most of the other G8 countries, so this scheme will bring the UK up to speed in competition terms.”