The UK export market was worth £306bn in 2016. In August 2017 alone the UK exported £25.9bn worth of products and services. Despite this, we remain a net importer with imports in August 2017 totalling £41.5bn. Few businesses are taking full advantage of international trade opportunities.
Success in international markets is a key part of the UK government’s economic recovery plan. There is a target to export £1 trillion of goods and services per annum by 2020.
Research shows that companies that export are more profitable, more productive and more innovative than those that don’t.
Earlier this year at our North Somerset Business Owners Forum, we were fortunate to be joined by Gustavo Anacleto, International Trade Advisor at the Department for International Trade.
Gustavo supports new and experienced exporters across the South West Region of England to increase their international competitiveness, and help them to win new business overseas by offering them appropriate advice and
provides solutions to achieve this aim. Some of the businesses that attended the event have already benefitted from his assistance, and in the last few months have started taking their products to new territories and markets.
A great way of identifying opportunities for overseas businesses looking for products or services is at https://opportunities.export.great.gov.uk/. Who would have thought at the time of writing there is an opportunity to supply a well know distributor in France with high-quality organic peanut butter or further afield there are businesses in New Zealand looking for slimline automatic sliding doors, landscaping equipment and rare whiskey amongst other things.
Of course, exporting isn’t something to go into lightly and thought will need to be given to a number of areas including:
Target Market when considering international trade opportunities
What products do you wish to export? Which territories are you interested in? What marketing is required? The good news is the Department of Trade & Industry can help identify business partners and key contacts.
Legal, regulatory and customs issues
Every country has its own trading, taxation, legal, regulatory and intellectual property systems. It is important that you understand those of your target countries.
Language and cultural barriers to international trade opportunities
The challenges here are clear and it’s imperative businesses understand the local culture. A failure to understand these and adapt marketing literature etc could easily result in potential buyers being offended and the opportunity lost.
Exchange rate risk
The uncertainty around BREXIT only increases the risk attached to exchange rate fluctuations and means foreign exchange risks must be managed. While the changes could work in your favour, even the slightest movement in
the other direction could mean a significant financial loss for your business.
Most export businesses will use freight forwarders to handle the transport of their products. This is in order to avoid having to master the impact of international transport, customs and duties. However, it is still important for
businesses to have an understanding of this and ensure that all costs have been identified and taken in to account in understanding the commercial viability of the opportunity being considered.
If you would like to learn more about international trade opportunities please do not hesitate to contact us. If you would like to be added to our invite list for future North Somerset Business Owners Forum events please contact Kerry Hake