The COVID-19 crisis has had a significantly negative impact on almost all industries in the UK. The manufacturing industry is no exception to this. British manufacturers are struggling to maintain output levels as global demand continues to fall in the wake of the pandemic. In March 2020, it was announced that the country’s manufacturing exports have fallen to their lowest level in three years. This was a worrying sign and indicated that the UK government must take more steps to mitigate the risks of the crisis. This article discusses the key reasons why exports are falling and suggests corrective actions.
The COVID-19 crisis has proved to be extremely damaging for almost all sectors. The manufacturing industry in the UK has also been suffering from weak orders and high levels of existing inventory. Domestic orders in the manufacturing industry have already turned negative. Similarly, export orders have also turned negative. In addition to COVID-19, another issue that has plagued the sector is Brexit. Although the UK has now left the EU, it is still in a transition period, and new trade agreements still need to be finalized. This has meant that importers from Europe are being cautious in terms of dealing with UK manufacturers.
To deal with the situation, the UK government must develop a new strategy. This strategy needs to be devised in consultation with manufacturers operating in the country. Two significant steps could be taken. Firstly, the government must try to remove as many trade barriers as it can. This may include relaxing of specific documentation requirements or lowering of tariffs. These steps could help the industry in getting back on track. Secondly, the government could look to provide a stimulus package to the manufacturing and trade industries. This could provide much-needed relief to the sectors and ensure that the recovery is swift. Such a package could help small manufacturers in surviving the current crisis.
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