Best market? Simple, the market which will reap the biggest financial reward. Hard bit – how do I find it? In the past business support organisations pointed the finger to close neighbours in Europe, deemed more suitable for new exporters. But not all is rosy – UK exports to the EU are decreasing, in fact minus £1.4 billion (9.9%) in March 2013 compared to previous March. But don’t be mislead by those statistics, the EU is still a lucrative option for UK companies, with 10 EU countries listed in the top 25 UK Trading Partners (see table 1 below.)
Outside of the EU, UK government is focussing its attention on designated High Growth markets, having increased the number from the original BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China to 20 countries (see table 2 below.) What does that mean for you the exporters? More incentives – read more funding, more activities such as events and trade missions, and more information on opportunities (Google High Value Opportunities) in those markets.
I have not yet answered where do I go? This is depending on numerous factors – your product, research, support, cultural differences, finance, legislation to name a few as well as advice from the right sources. So where do you get a helping hand?
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. UKTI offers services and programmes for new and experienced exporters; from events, research services, trade visits to exhibition support. A number of these are financially supported.
I hasten to add here that although financial support provides an incentive, the commitment to trade internationally should take priority and form part of a company’s long term strategy.
Chambers of Commerce International Trade support varies from Chamber to Chamber, offering a range of services to the export community with a strong focus on Export Documentation with delivery at each local Chamber, Language Services and International Trade Training such as Export Documentation, Letters of Credit, Customs Procedures & Regimes – all essential to understand the mechanics of international trade.
The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), funded by the EC and is, in my opinion, the best kept secret and still greatly underutilised. EEN offers technological, commercial and research opportunities, including the ‘Business Partner’ Opportunity service. Notices arrive almost daily from the network of 600 partner organisation in Europe and beyond. This is not to be confused with the Tender Services.
Best ‘til last, although a little bias as you will see. South Yorkshire International Trade Forum (SYITF) is an impartial independent and business led Members’ Forum providing export support within its membership. A trusted environment, hands on advice from practitioners; organising international events with case studies from member companies, support by local sponsors to add value.
I must also mention other organisations that provide opportunities and advise on growth through international trade: Trade Associations, Bilateral Chambers of Commerce, Universities, Banks, Accountants, Law Firms, Local Authorities et al, in addition to a plethora of online media networks.
Each one of the aforementioned can bring a positive experience in your journey to grow internationally. The more effort you put in, the more chances you have to succeed.
Lastly it shouldn’t matter where you start, the Sheffield City Region networks work together to provide the support you need.
1) Top 25 UK Trading Partners (in order of export value)
United States, Germany, Netherlands, France, Irish Republic, Belgium, China, Spain, Italy, UAE, Switzerland, Sweden, Hong Kong, Russia, India, South Korea, Japan, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Denmark.
Source: HM Revenue and Customs, Overseas Trade Statistics
2) UKTI High Growth Markets
Brazil, China, Columbia, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam.
3) Contact Points:
Chambers of Commerce click here
UKTI click here
EEN Y&H click here
SYITF click here