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Impact of geopolitics on international trade

Simon Littlewood Simon Littlewood

While Brexit and global geopolitics have presented a new set of challenges to mid-market businesses in the UK, the current economic climate has also presented new trade opportunities.

We surveyed 300 leaders from UK mid-market businesses that are trading internationally to better understand how they are responding to the global political climate. 

Brexit and Brand Britain

It's no surprise to find that Brexit has significantly impacted trading plans for mid-market businesses. It certainly echoes the conversations we’ve had with our clients - people are bored with Brexit speculation. But it’s encouraging to see that so many businesses regard Brexit as an opportunity to assess their position and are confidently acting on what they do know to prepare for the various possible outcomes. It’s the perfect time for businesses to take advantage of the changing political climate by taking a step back and re-evaluating their game plan.

Impact of Brexit on international trade

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Source: UK mid-market international trade research, Grant Thornton, June 2019

“When it comes to Brexit, there’s an interesting duality - we need to mitigate the risks but it’s also presenting us with some unique opportunities,” says Nigel Quine, CEO of e-liquid manufacturer, Cuts Ice.

Changing international priorities

The current political climate has encouraged UK mid-market businesses to make the most of trade opportunities beyond Europe, keen to establish themselves in foreign markets such as the USA and China. 

The US and Asia can present huge opportunities for businesses looking to grow globally but we’ve seen many challenges around cultural understanding and market differences. America is widely thought of as culturally similar to the UK but buyer behaviour and market strategy is quite different. Many businesses also see the Chinese market as a united entity but it’s actually quite fragmented. That’s why getting the right advice in advance is key.

Next priority markets for UK mid-market businesses trading internationally 

Next priority markets for UK mid-market businesses trading internationally statistics

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Source: UK mid-market international trade research, Grant Thornton, June 2019

Expert advice

We know that overseas expansion is a preferred priority for growth but also a key challenge facing the mid-market. Benefiting from the experience of experts who have grown global businesses and have specialist knowledge of international markets can make a real difference to success. Our Growth 365 international service, supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT), draws on our global network and experienced growth advisers to help businesses leaders research, plan and execute entry into new markets or get more value from their existing operations.

If you would like to discuss your international plans and find out how we can support your business, please get in touch with Simon Littlewood.

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