Opportunity knocks beyond the EU and China

More and more firms are getting the international trade bug with a sizeable increase in the number of firms selling their goods and services overseas, according to the latest survey from the British Chambers of Commerce.

The survey showed that the number of participating companies exporting goods and services rose from under a third (32 per cent) last year to nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) this year.

While the EU remained the most popular export destination with 88 per cent of firms exporting there, many businesses reported looking even beyond China to a new wave of 20 so-called “priority” markets including the fast-growing economies of Poland and the UAE.

The findings show that 57 per cent of Chamber members were exporting to the Middle East and Africa, with 47 per cent selling to North America and 40 per cent to Australasia.

Central and South America was the least popular export destination, although the BCC highlights the fact that the Brazilian government is spending a staggering $470 billion on energy generation and infrastructure as well as facilities for next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

“Although the end of 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the European Single Market, despite its achievements it is not yet complete. Important gaps remain in some areas, in particular services, energy and the digital economy, leaving its full potential unexploited,” said the report.

“The BCC presses for full implementation of the EU’s Single Market Act and the Services Directive so that UK businesses benefit from a deeper and wider single European market. The UK and other European governments must speed up the implementation of the priority measures launched in 2011 by the European Commission (the Single Market Act) and work towards a truly integrated single market for services.”