Unveiling Greater Manchester’s Untapped Export Potential

Business Insights

It has been estimated there is over USD$161bn worth of unrealised export potential[1] for the UK, spread across some key markets and a wide range of sectors. The UK is already one of the world’s leading exporters, with untapped export potential in the aerospace sector in the region of USD$19.7bn, automotive (USD$22bn), chemicals (USD$15.6bn), and pharmaceutical (USD$22bn), to mention but a few. All are sectors in which both Greater Manchester and the North West region have strong clusters of expertise, and yet are clearly underperforming in when compared to other English regions and internationally.

A significant untapped export potential also remains within the UK’s top traditional market regions such as the EU, North America and China, where British companies could be exporting roughly a combined total of USD$89.1bn more. However, it is worth highlighting that in the next 5 years, GDP growth will mainly be driven by Emerging and Developing Economies (EDEs)[2], which are also expected to contribute to more than 65% of the Global GDP. Recent HMRC regional statistics on the export of goods shows how most of the EDEs still remain largely neglected by companies in the UK and the North West region when compared to the traditional export market. The UK is missing out significantly to other global players such as Germany, which shares similar sector strengths to the UK, and yet is already capitalising on the opportunities these economies offer.

For 225 years, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has been helping businesses to thrive, both domestically and internationally. The Chamber’s Award-Winning International Trade Team[3] works closely with associates and partners, in the UK and Overseas, helping exporters and importers, whether novice or experienced, through their extensive offer of international trade services. From their online readiness assessment, market identification service and market entry, to getting paid and export documentation services, the Chamber is an International Trade Hub, supporting companies in every stage of their internationalisation journey.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has created lots of uncertainty and challenges but equally it has opened the door to opportunities for British businesses. The Chamber has been supporting its members by campaigning on their behalf to government, providing information and tailored services to help them prepare and manage effectively the impact of Brexit.

Behind all the current political noise, we know British businesses will adapt and continue to trade regardless of what happens, and the Chamber is readily available to help businesses realise their export potential. From raising awareness of the growing opportunities across the globe and keeping companies up to date with the skills and knowledge to successfully trade overseas, the Chamber’s events and training programme is constantly evolving to bridge the gap between the region’s export capacity and the world of opportunities out there.

[1] Source: ITC, Export Potential (rough estimations)

[2] Source: IMF GDP growth Forecast next 5 years.

[3] British Chambers of Commerce Awards: Excellence in International Trade Services (2015-16, 2018-19).