According to our latest quarterly economic survey, exports in both the manufacturing and the services sector have experienced sharp decrease of orders in the first quarter of 2019 when the uncertainty of Brexit has been causing disruption for companies both in the UK and overseas. Only the construction sector seemed to have seen an increase of international orders.
In the last 12 months, trade with non-EU countries has been growing faster than trade within Europe – the EU now accounts for 42% of UK exports and 52% of imports. Although the terms on which UK companies will have to comply with when exporting once the UK has left the EU are still not clear, looking beyond the European Union allows exporters to mitigate and diversify the risks.
According to a research from Barclays Corporate Banking, British products remain very popular around the world as 2 fifth of international consumers said they are more willing to buy a product from a British brand – with 73% of Chinese consumers under 34 years old willing to pay more for a product carrying the Union Jack. They also found that consumers in Asia and the Middle East have the strongest associations of quality with “Brand Britain”.
This shows that many great opportunities lie in these high-growth markets and UK businesses should not be scared to grow their exports in less traditional markets.
At Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, we want to encourage UK businesses to look beyond Brexit and recognise the potential of their products internationally. Whether you want to remain close to the UK and start/continue growing in the UE or if you are looking to expand beyond Europe, our wide network of partners is here to support you.
Most of them will be available at our Meet the Expert event next week on Friday 17th May for 1-2-1 sessions to provide you with insights on their markets. From Europe to Asia, Middle East and Americas, over 25 experts either market representatives or technical specialists will be on hand to answer your questions. Book your meetings with the experts of your choice here.
We will be running a workshop on Brexit and Compliance on 29th May where we will look at the key issues for exporters and importers and help prepare for the potential changes. Please see more info on the content of the course here.
We also expect customs declarations to increase significantly once the UK leaves the EU as this could become a new requirement when sending goods to EU markets. To help businesses get ready, we are running 2 seminars on how to complete customs declarations. HMRC grants are available. See more info here.