A £45 million windfall to help companies begin exporting will be an invaluable route to growth for the UK economy in 2012, according to Shropshire international trade expert Nicole Howarth.
Mrs Howarth, managing director of award-winning shipping company Global Freight, said the new Government funding will help exporters sell their goods and services overseas for the first time, as well as assisting existing exporters to crack high-growth markets.
And she said the UKTI cash, as well as the announcement of a 2012 campaign to encourage more British companies to export to Asia’s emerging markets, should also aid the economic recovery.
“International trade will be the key to business recovery in 2012, with companies looking to maximise opportunities in new, foreign markets with the support of export funding facilities.
“But it is important that firms looking to trade overseas have a clear understanding of how to go about accessing these new markets. The £45m being given to UKTI will help companies identify these opportunities, but it is just as important to provide the support which is required when launching an export project.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable MP and Foreign Secretary William Hague MP have recently launched a campaign which will run until March 2013, to encourage businesses to target Asia.
Mrs Howarth said this push towards the Asian markets would be vital to companies which had focused previous exports in Europe.
“The UK’s exports to the Asian group of countries are worth about £25 billion, but there is potential to vastly increase this. The international trade promotion will help more medium-sized exporters and will also double the number of SMEs being assisted to trade overseas from 25,000 to 50,000,” added Mrs Howarth.
Global Freight, based in Telford, works with a range of businesses importing and exporting goods, from household names to county SMEs.
“What we have discovered is that many companies secure a contract overseas, but then are stumped by actually how to go about delivering goods, securing the right documentation, with customs red-tape often a minefield for companies.
“The economic downturn means that some of the expertise which was in-house to help develop overseas markets and importantly, arrange the logistics surrounding the movement of goods, has been lost.
“It is vital that companies starting to trade internationally get it right first time, no-one in this economic climate can afford to waste money. Getting it wrong could see a stagnation of the export journey and for some companies, that could be enough for them to fail.
“We’d urge companies looking to develop new routes to market outside of the UK to not only make use of funding and support which is available, but also to ensure they have the systems in place to make the best use of the opportunities.”