Skip to main content

UK Exports

Volume 569: debated on Tuesday 29 October 2013

9. What progress his Department has made on increasing UK exports to established and emerging markets. (900737)

Between 2009 and 2012, UK exports increased by 23% in the wake of the deepest recession in post-war history. This growth has primarily been driven by demand in emerging markets. In South Korea, exports have risen by 103%; in China, excluding Hong Kong, by 80%; in Russia by 76% and in Brazil by 64%. Exports to the US increased by more than 8% between 2010 and 2012, although UK exports to the EU were flat.

I thank the Minister for his response. During the past decade, the value of bilateral trade between the UK and Israel has increased by over 60% to about £3.8 billion. It gives me particular pleasure to note that the trade between Wales and Israel with respect to life sciences is doing extremely well. As a result of these facts, will the Minister join me in welcoming this growth in trade between the UK and Israel—a country that is forward looking in its economic performance.

We greatly welcome the flourishing of UK-Israel trade, which is the result of concerted efforts by the Government, including, as my hon. Friend said, the creation of the UK-Israel tech hub, which celebrated its second anniversary this month, and our burgeoning co-operation with Israel in respect of life sciences, which was cemented in an memorandum of understanding on science co-operation, signed by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary during his recent visit to Israel in May.

Half of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK, and half of the UK’s trade is with the rest of Europe. Will the Minister outline the benefits Scotland gets from the wider exports that the UK does with the world and the economic benefits that that brings for my constituents and others in Scotland?

Yes, with both pleasure and conviction. Scotland benefits from being part of the UK in this renaissance of trade that the UK is undergoing. I must point to a recent fabulous article in Le Monde, which said we can now predict sustainable future growth—gone are fears of repeated recessions and new injections of liquidity. The jobs market and consumer confidence are both improving—improving for the United Kingdom and improving for Scotland, as well as for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What conclusions does the Minister draw from the fact that exports from some countries outside the EU to the EU are increasing more rapidly than our own?

My right hon. Friend will be aware of my earlier comment that trade with the EU has been adversely affected by the downturn in the EU economy. I think what it shows is the flexibility of the British economy, not least because we did not join the euro and because this Government have a more determined approach to driving exports globally, both with our existing partners and in emerging markets.

The British embassy in Washington part-sponsored a state-by-state study of jobs in the United States that are linked to exports and the potential gains from a comprehensive EU-US trade and investment deal. No such study has been carried out in relation to the United Kingdom. Will the Government commission a similar area-by-area analysis of British jobs, output and exports?

The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting point. I shall certainly look into it, and I should be happy to discuss it with him in more detail. British trade with the United States remains incredibly important. I will not rehearse the statistics again, but we have been vulnerable to the rather changeable circumstances in the domestic UK economy of late.