In a recent piece for The New Statement whilst discussing Peter Forster’s book ‘What went wrong with Brexit and what we can do about it’, Andrew Marr has highlighted how UK SMEs are struggling to export to the EU and are increasingly deciding not to.
He says there is an ongoing contraction happening as firms decide it is too difficult to trade with the EU, and new ‘sectoral deals’ may be required by future governments to create closer alignment.
In short, back into the Single Market, but without saying so. Watch Marr’s points below:
Still opportunities for international trade
Whilst doing business with the EU market has undoubtedly become more complex since Brexit, there are still fantastic opportunities for new and established UK businesses to expand their horizons and drive increased revenue through international sales.
For many, it’s just about knowing how to start.
Go Exporting helps companies like this to understand their readiness to export with a three-stage audit and additional strategy, including export viability and corporate goals, legal, customs and market research – as well as market entry strategies.
Learn more about our export readiness audits here.
The government has delayed plans to introduce checks on imported food products once again.
The post-Brexit checks on fresh farm produce and plants from the EU into the UK were meant to begin in October, however, concerns over supply chain readiness, delays and potential inflationary cost increases have seen the roll-out pushed back once more.
Industry bodies have welcomed the move, with the Cold Chain Federation noting; “UK food retailers, hospitality businesses and consumers were in line for major disruption because many EU food-producing businesses supplying into the UK are not ready for the new requirements.”
But some businesses have said that delaying the checks will give an unfair advantage to continental rivals as UK produce arriving in the EU are subject to checks.
When will checks begin?
There’s no date as to when the changes will be introduced, with some industry insiders telling the BBC that they don’t expect any additional checks to come into play before the next general election, in January 2024, for which it is unlikely any new government would immediately mandate checks begin either.
This leaves a prolonged period of limbo for supply chains and the businesses which rely on them. When should they invest in the updated processes and procedures necessary, and if they do, could that be money down the drain?
At a time when inflation is still stubbornly embedded in the UK economy, it is unlikely any policy will be forced through onto businesses that will undoubtedly cause an increase in consumer prices.
But the period of limbo is harming UK producers, with the director of trade at the National Farmers Union, Nick von Westenholz, saying UK farmers were facing issues with exporting but continental competitors could export into the UK at will.
He said: “We appreciate the need to protect consumers from rising food prices, but it is vital that we introduce proportionate, light-touch checks on all our food imports that keep costs for importers to a minimum while properly managing biosecurity risks.”
Get support with the new post-Brexit trading environment
It’s been a tumultuous time for UK businesses adapting to the post-Brexit trading environment with new processes, delays and costs to mitigate.
The continued delay on UK checks on EU produce is a great example of businesses having to exist in a state of perpetual uneasiness – huge changes on the horizon with major consequences, but no clear idea as to when those changes will come into play… and when they should start preparing for them!
At Go Exporitng, we help import and export businesses of all sizes to adapt to the ever-changing tides of international trade, and we can do the same for you.
At Go Exporting, we know how critical exports can be to the long-term success of a business – it’s something we talk about all the time! And we love it when we see other businesses embodying that view.
And new research from Alibaba in partnership with the Institute of Export and International Trade has shown that eight in 10 UK firms agree and see exporting as critical to the future of their business.
The data, released in April this year, surveyed more than 3,000 UK businesses and found that 75% expected export sales to rise over the coming months, whilst a quarter expected significant increases in international trade activity.
What’s more, and especially important after the last three years of upheaval and continued economic headwinds, 81% of businesses surveyed said that exporting had made their business stronger.
“British businesses believe that export is integral to their success. It is positive to see exporters anticipating even further export sales growth in the next 12 months.”Alibaba
If your business is new to exporting, or has just taken its first bold steps into international markets, Go Exporting can help you profitably achieve your goals.
Our export readiness audits help businesses to establish what work they need to do in terms of training, processes, policies and management in order to smoothly transition into a successful exporting company.
Just want to read more about exporting for the first time? Then sign-up to our free Expert Exporter resource hub for a range of detailed guides on how to export for the very first time.
Are you looking to take your business to the next level and capitalise on the opportunities that the global marketplace presents?
If you’re thinking about exporting for the first time, then you need this free Lunch and Learn webinar with Go Exporting CEO Mike Wilson taking place on 18th July at 12pm.
In the webinar, Mike will take you through the steps of developing your own export strategy as well as answering your specific questions.
You will learn;
- What an exporting strategy is and how to create one for your business
- Discover how to decide where to export and what markets to sell to
- Overcome challenges that you may face as you start trading overseas
The latest economic data from the Office for National Statistics has shown the value of UK exports rising as the trade deficit narrows.
As part of the ONS’ economic update, showing GDP returning to growth of 0.2% in April and 0.1% in Q1 overall, data highlighted how the value of UK exports rose in April alone by £1bn or 3.4%. Imports decreased by 1.4% (£0.7bn) at the same time, leaving the trade deficit at £12.3bn.
The deficit for goods narrowed by £107bn to £52.5bn, whilst the service industry continued to thrive with a surplus increasing £1.9bn to £49.3bn.
The ONS suggested that strong service-sector performance was the key reason why, overall, the economy stayed in the black during Q1 and returned to growth, masking falls in production output and a 0.6% reduction in construction activity.
Brexit causing drag on exports
Despite some more optimistic data from the ONS, the exports industry is still struggling to adapt to the post-Brexit business environment.
A report released this week from the UN suggests that all other G7 countries, aside from Japan, have outpaced the UK exports market. In fact, goods and services exports in the EU grew by over 29% between 2012 and 2021. In the UK, that figure was just 6%.
If your business is looking to increase international sales but are struggling to adapt to the new trading environment, Go Exporting can help.
We specialise in helping companies just like yours to research, plan and execute an exports plan to drive sales growth in key territories.
Learn more about how we can start to improve your international sales here.
Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden announced a new economic agreement this week, designed to strengthen critical supply chains as well as support investments in future technologies.
The Declaration recognises the already close ties between the two nations whilst this new agreement sets out a pathway to strengthen those economic bonds to move quicker and increasingly in lockstep in future.
The Declaration covers quite a bit of ground, including:
- More information sharing during a crisis to reduce tech supply chain vulnerabilities
- A new civil nuclear partnership
- A new ‘data bridge’ for UK-US data sharing
- A new international summit on AI safety
- Cooperation to stop adversaries from developing more powerful tech
- Joint research into AI, 5G and 6G, quantum, engineering biology and semi-conductors
- A potential pathway for UK firms to benefit from US government investment
Read more detail on the UK government website here.
Sunak said of the agreement that: “It’s natural that, when faced with the greatest transformation in our economies since the industrial revolution, we would look to each other to build a stronger economic future together.
“The Atlantic Declaration sets a new standard for economic cooperation, propelling our economies into the future so we can protect our people, create jobs and grow our economies together.”
What does this mean for exporters?
At the moment, not too much. This agreement is a far cry from the manifesto-promised fully-fledged trade deal that the Conservative party offered in 2019. Three US Presidents have kicked that can down the road in succession, in part due to worries over the UK’s handling of Brexit and Northern Ireland.
It does mean there may be new opportunities, and updated regulations, to look out for in the medium term.
Updated rules on data transfer would make it a lot easier for UK and US firms to work in lockstep with less red tape and save an estimated £92m each year. And any new pathway to deride investment from a government is a great opportunity should any UK-based firm be able to capitalise on it.
Negotiations are now underway over many aspects of the new partnership, so expect further announcements towards the end of 2023.
Update: The UK’s trade deals with Australia and New Zealand came into effect on 31st May 2023 and are now live.
UK exporters are getting ready to enjoy the benefits of the UK’s new trading arrangement with Australia and New Zealand.
The first brand new free trade deals sealed by the UK government following Brexit, the agreements with both nations will see tariffs removed on thousands of goods as well as enhanced access for UK service providers to do business in the respective countries.
Following some final regulatory tweaking, it’s expected that both trade deals will go live at midnight on 31st May.
Both deals are expected to increase long-term bilateral traded by up to 59% whilst also enhancing investment opportunities and access to government contracts, producing tariff-free access to both markets for all British goods, flexibility on rules of origin, removal of UK import tariffs on the majority of goods from Australia and New Zealand, and more opportunities for UK professionals to work in both nations.
Read more: UK to join £11 trillion CPTPP trading bloc
Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, said on the deals’ impending launches that: “With these two deals the UK is using our status as an independent trading nation to tailor agreements to our country’s economic strengths. Alongside our recent conclusion of talks to join CPTPP, the government is forging a bold new future alongside the world’s most dynamic and fast-growing economies.
“Putting these trade deals into action will help create new opportunities for business, boosting wages and helping spur economic growth.”
UK exporters confident of future benefits
A small poll of 200 business leaders in the UK by the Institute of Export & International Trade found that 95% were confident they’d be able to benefit from both trade deals with nearly eight in 10 noting that reduced tariffs was a huge benefit.
However, half said that the biggest potential stumbling block will likely be the distance between the trading nations, whilst a lack of market knowledge of Australia, in particular, could be a hurdle.
If your business is looking to benefit from the new free trading agreements with Australia and New Zealand but aren’t sure where to start, then Go Exporting can help.
We can help to assess the global market potential for your company and products and pinpoint specific nations where the potential demand is highest.
Learn more about how we can help you make the right market entry decisions with the clarity of real market information here.
Fresh data from Alibaba in partnership with the Institute of Export & International Trade has shone a light on just how powerful exports can be for UK businesses.
Their new report entitled ‘The UK Opportunity Report – Global Horizons: helping UK businesses grow through international trade’ quizzed 3,000 UK businesses to uncover just how powerful international trade has been for them.
Businesses already exporting, some three-quarters, said that export sales accounted for 49% of their total revenues with 82% of all responders saying exports had increased company revenues – 97% for enterprise-level firms, and still a healthy 68% for micro businesses.
And the benefits of exporting aren’t just revenue related. The report also found that 79% of firms viewed international trade has helped to ease the pressure of doing business in the UK with a similar number saying exports had made their business stronger and more resilient.
Eight in 10 said exporting was critical to their future plans.
Download now: 7 Key Changes to UK-EU Trade Post-Brexit
Alibaba’s Roland Palmer noted that: “International trade is widely recognised as a key driver of growth, benefitting businesses that export and the UK economy.
“Furthermore, the UK’s recent economic challenges underline the importance of advancing prosperity by accessing new markets and customers.”
One in four UK firms missing out on export benefits
The report by Alibaba and IOE&IT also highlighted how 25% of UK businesses are still yet to start exporting, despite the wide-ranging benefits of doing so.
Some of the complexities surrounding starting to trade abroad for the first time can be a big stumbling block for smaller firms, especially in the wake of Brexit.
If your business would like to explore the benefits of exporting for the first time but aren’t sure where to start, then Go Exporting can help.
Our international trade consultancy services helps you to plan and prepare for your export journey. But before that, we can help you undertake an export readiness evaluation to assess and prepare you to start your global expansion plans.
Rishi Sunak’s new Windsor Framework was designed to do a few things. First and foremost was to fix the backstop issue in the original Brexit deal and remove the border down the Irish sea. And second, it was supposed to unlock talks with the Biden administration over a new, lucrative ‘Brexit dividend’-worthy trade deal with the US.
And the latter looks to have worked… to a degree. The White House suggested to the UK government this week that it would now be open to starting talks over a trade deal again – but not until 2025.
That timeline is only likely to accelerate should Biden lose in the 2024 US elections, if he decides to run for another term. If Biden is reelected, then 2025 could be pushed back further as he battles with those on the left of his own party who are concerned at the number of US jobs being lost overseas.
Conservative MP David Jones told The Telegraph that: “The US can remain on the back-burner until we have a more sympathetic US President.
“Indeed, it was rumoured that Biden himself was keen [for the US] to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership [CPTPP]. If that happens, we will not need a bilateral deal.”
Read more: UK to join £11 trillion CPTPP trading bloc
“In the meantime, we can focus on more enthusiastic trading partners, who are accounting for an increasing share of the global economy.”
The UK has signed its most significant trade agreement since leaving the EU by joining the Indo-Pacific trading bloc.
The deal, which took two years of negotiations to strike, will unlock access to a region worth £11 trillion a year.
UK firms will now have increased access to markets including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore, with tariffs on food, drink and car exports expected to be cut.
The value to the UK economy is expected to be £1.8bn – still far below the economic cost of leaving the EU.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said of the deal that: “We are at our heart an open and free-trading nation, and this deal demonstrates the real economic benefits of our post-Brexit freedoms. As part of CPTPP, the UK is now in a prime position in the global economy to seize opportunities for new jobs, growth and innovation.
“Joining the CPTPP trade bloc puts the UK at the centre of a dynamic and growing group of Pacific economies, as the first new nation and first European country to join. British businesses will now enjoy unparalleled access to markets from Europe to the south Pacific.”
The deal has been welcomed by business leaders, with CBI director general Matthew Fell noting: “Joining CPTPP is a real milestone for the UK and for British industry. Not only does the agreement provide greater access to a group of fast growth economies representing 14% of global GDP and over 500 million consumers, but membership reinforces the UK’s commitment to building partnerships in an increasingly fragmented world.
“CPTPP countries and business need to work together to future proof the rules-based trading system and stimulate growth with a focus on digital, services and resilient supply chains.”
The deal comes as UK officials are hopeful that a new agreement reached with the EU over trade provisions for Northern Ireland may help unlock trade negotiations with the USA – something two presidents have put on hold until the fallout from Brexit was solved.