Commenting on the final report of the independent Cole Commission on Exports, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“With the UK set to miss the Prime Minister’s 2020 export target by over £300bn, it’s clear that the current approach to export isn’t working.

“The Cole Commission is right to call for a radical shake-up that places trade at the very heart of government activity. The Commission’s Action Plan sets out a number of realistic and positive steps that would make a demonstrable difference – from Cabinet-level backing for exports to the re-focusing of UKTI on larger, more complex trade deals.

“While the government decides what it will do next, we won’t wait. The British Chambers of Commerce will continue to grow our global business network and deliver real, practical and sustainable support to UK exporters around the world, with or without government support. As the Cole Commission report states, no other organisation has the same local and international footprint, infrastructure, or the entrepreneurial flexibility needed to help small and medium-sized companies meet their export and trade ambitions.

“The onus is now on the government to demonstrate that it is ready to radically change its approach, and set a credible plan to meet its own export targets.”