The global economy is expanding and the good news is that this is being reflected in British export success. U.K. exportsreached a record high of £616 billion last year. Exports of goods rose by 13 per cent to £339 billion, while services increased by 7 per cent to £277 billion.
Among these numbers are some particular successes - exports to China increased by £22 billion, a 29 per cent rise from 2016, whilst trade with India increased by nearly a fifth.
In economic terms anything that increases economic activity and creates job is a positive but in the long term a net balanced trade is important and it is therefore also positive that in the year to May 2018, the UK Trade deficit was squeezed down £4 billion.
For us to continue to succeed internationally we need to increase our “productivity” and the best way to do so is through constant innovation.
I recently visited Thomas Keating in Billingshurst and was deeply impressed by their innovative craftsmanship and to whom they sell their products. For just over 60 years as we have “reached for the stars” NASA has been globally seen as the by word in technological design and innovation. I was delighted to discover that Thomas Keating is exporting to NASA (and through them to outer space!) advanced engineering products. These antennae enable us to observe tropical storms from space. They can look into cloud formations and determine speed and impact of tropical storms and typhoons – a sometimes life-threatening threat to the Western seaboard of the Pacific.
It was an odd feeling to hold a piece of highly designed specialised engineering knowing it will shortly be on a mission thousands of feet above the Earth.
We boast in the U.K. a lot of the best scientific work in the world, putting this to work in practical terms is the key to our success.
Nor does it stop in the current generation. I was delighted to hear that Collyers’ Robotics team has won anotherinternational award this summer, in China. A great achievement about which I am looking to hearing a great deal more when term resumes.
Photo caption: With Dr George Wylde at Thomas Keating in Billingshurst with engineering product destined for “export” into space.