US-China trade war represents opportunity for UK SMEs

Posted: Monday 17th September

The current trade war between China and the United States could represent an opportunity for UK exporters, according to international trade expert Anton Gunter.

The tariffs imposed on hundreds of Chinese goods by Donald Trump could see China making more deals with other nations – and the UK is in prime position to take advantage, said Anton Gunter, of UK shipping specialist Global Freight.

China is already starting to open its doors to new import arrangements – only recently allowing British beef to enter the country for the first time in a decade.

Anton said SME businesses in the UK should be looking for new export opportunities.

“This is only the beginning of what could be a sustained period of uncertainty for both US and Chinese international trade, so British companies should be looking to see how they can take advantage.

“China will have to start to look to new markets for its imports and while the US is busy with its trade war, it could be a good time for the UK to be talking to China about how our manufacturers, and particularly our smaller companies, can fill those gaps.”

His remarks follow a speech from Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, to the Federation of Small Businesses last month in which he said the United Kingdom was China’s natural “partner” thanks to the global reach of the UK’s largest banks, financial institutions and professional services firms.

Dr Fox said: “They have formidable emerging markets expertise, as well as experience in areas such as law, green finance and providing professional advisory services delivering international infrastructure projects.

“My Department for International Trade is helping businesses in both countries realise these opportunities and further a trading relationship already worth £67.5 billion through our working group with China.

“We are working to identify and remove non-tariff barriers to trade while laying the groundwork for future trade agreements.”

Anton added that amid the uncertainty over trade deals with Europe and the rest of the world with Brexit looming, the focus on Asia markets would be one which Global Freight’s clients would likely to be exploring.

“We already work with a number of customers on import, export and cross-trade deals with China and are starting to see the number of shipments to Asia increase as SMEs look to non-EU markets for their products.

“With Brexit negotiations ongoing and the US-China trade war escalating, there will be opportunities for businesses to capitalise in the coming months.”

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