David Gorton, corporate services partner at PM+M
Despite Brexit and various uncertainties, David Gorton, corporate services partner at PM+M, tells BQ why he thinks now is a great time to be doing business internationally.
If any of your life touches news or current affairs you would be forgiven for thinking that trading internationally from Britain was doomed.
The apparent reasons for this are many: lorry parks in Kent as Brexit border frictions slow down traffic; new tariffs as Britain and the EU try to comply with WTO rules; a global “trade war” as the US challenges the international status quo; and the difficulties arising from striving for an impossible perfect Brexit.
I happen to think that all of these factors are real and significant. The important thing to remember, however, is that there are also loads of reasons why international trade has thrived to date and will continue to thrive, despite these political obstructions and uncertainties.
Firstly, most industries (although not necessarily all, I admit) can manage their supply chains to cope with some extra transport delays – given the dubious state of our motorways and ports already this is a core skill for many businesses.
Secondly, British exporters cope with tariffs in much of the world already and the depreciation of sterling means that profit margins will generally stand the pressure at the moment.
Thirdly, we are also sadly accustomed to governments of all colours being inept at dealing with the commercial challenges facing the country. Harsh but true.
When I talk to businesses overseas the enthusiasm for continuing and boosting trade with the UK is evident – the skills and ingenuity of British business are great draws for both trading partners and investments. This reinforces the feedback I get from our allies in Praxity that their clients are concerned about Brexit but very keen to keep open trading channels (Praxity is the sixth largest accounting association in the world with member firms in over 100 countries).
I think it’s important to remember a few important points as Brexit looms:
Our clients at PM+M are looking at boosting their international trade in many ways, with particular attention to the US and the Far East. Through Praxity, we have arranged introductions to skilled local advisers across the US, in Singapore and Hong Kong, and across Europe, so that our clients now trade through subsidiaries with confidence that they understand the marketplace. A robust understanding of the regulations in diverse markets you sell in is going to become increasingly important as the international trade landscape changes.
To sum up, I am not saying that international trade is easy – far from it – and I certainly can’t see a Brexit dividend in international openness and trade. But I can – and do see every day – great British businesses exporting and doing really well. I believe in the skills, products and services we offer as a nation and with those, I genuinely believe this a great time to trade internationally.
PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards, in association with HSBC and the Department for International Trade, seeks to recognise the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.
For more info visit www.northernexportawards.co.uk.
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