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UK small firms lead the way on exports

As the UK trade gap narrows, new research shows that small businesses are taking advantage of export opportunities.

The latest FedEx SMEs Export Report finds that more than 63% of UK SMEs are exporting and making a significant contribution to rising international trade by taking advantage of declines in the value of the pound. It finds that 86% of exporting British SMEs trade within Europe while 63% export outside of Europe.

Exporting revenues contribute 59% of these SMEs' total revenues; and a third of those polled also predict revenue growth to increase over the next twelve months.

The report concludes that the digital economy - and ecommerce in particular - is driving growth; more than eight in ten (81%) of UK exporting SMEs generate revenue through this platform and almost a third (30%) have reported increased revenues over the past 12 months.

"It's promising to see exports could be having a positive impact on the UK economy," said Ed Clarke, Managing Director, UK ground operations, FedEx Express. "To continue this upward momentum, governments and businesses across the world should play an increasingly important role to align SMEs exporting ambitions with the digital economy - providing more opportunities to reach new markets and customers."

It is not just UK SMEs who have cause for optimism according to the report. Exporting SMEs across Europe are thriving, with 53% of them exporting to other continents, up from 29% in 2015.

The latest trade figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the UK's total trade deficit shrank in December 2016 and UK exports and imports reached record highs.

Mike Spicer, Director of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "The narrowing in the UK's trade deficit in the final months of last year is a welcome improvement from the weaker performance in the previous quarter, and reflects a growing number of goods being exported to non-EU countries. As Brexit dominates the headlines, the results are an important reminder that UK companies take advantage of trading opportunities in every part of the world."

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