With its manufacturing and engineering tradition, the West Midlands should be at the forefront of British hopes for exporting beyond Europe. Sadly, on most measures, it is in no position to do so
Brexit, according to its cheerleaders, offers British businesses the chance to expand trade beyond Europe to the rest of the world. Trade minister Liam Fox infamously said the easy option of shipping goods across the Channel had deterred businesses large and small from looking further afield. They had become fat and lazy, and now they would be forced to be more entrepreneurial.
Setting aside the reasons why countries all over the world mostly export to their neighbours (it’s cheaper, and there are shared histories and cultures) and try to do so within free-trade blocs (profits are higher when tariffs are low and regulations are harmonised). let’s consider the question of how fat and lazy business has become. Is it ready to accept Fox’s challenge?