Britain has been described as “a nation of shopkeepers”. This was no insult but a recognition that British commercial power is long established and is driven by numerous entrepreneurs, small and large, many of whom export around the world. BFC Bank supports these exporters, especially Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), with international payment and foreign exchange services.
The UK’s international trade, in goods and services, continues to expand. While the UK runs a trade deficit with the rest of the world (a deficit dominated by trade with Germany and China), the shape of this trade is changing. Trade with the EU, while still important, (exports to the EU represents 13% of GDP according to the Office for National Statistics, ONS), is shrinking year-on-year, while trade with markets such as the USA, Japan, and South Korea continues to climb slowly upwards. However, the importance of manufactured goods in UK international trade, compared with services, continues to decline.
Naturally enough, these trends affect London. In 2015 the capital accounted for £131 billion of exports (out of a UK total of £512 billion, some 26%) of which services accounted for 77% (financial services were 28% of total services, GLA Economics). In other words, London is a significant economic and export centre within the UK. Banking services to the businesses that drive that trade are vital.
Adam Boulton shared his views on the importance of London as an international trade centre at this event. He explored the support and services that smaller UK exporters need, in order to thrive. SMEs that export to the EU and beyond are an important part of the UK’s economic success yet, until now, agile small UK businesses have not been well served. BFC Bank aims to change that.
“We’ve grown from a small business ourselves; therefore, we have complete empathy with the small business sector. The UK is a trading nation where SMEs play a vital role. They need banks that really understand their needs, made up of staff that can deliver.”
General Manager, Corporate Banking Division, BFC Bank.