Make the most of international trading opportunities

Fiona Castela from Enterprise Europe North West (EENW) discusses EU trading opportunities and how North West SMEs can make the most of the European market.

Fiona CastelaThe UK has understood for hundreds of years that exporting is of paramount importance to the economic wealth of our country.

However, developing a robust international business strategy and making your company an exporter, can be very daunting and expensive for many small to medium enterprises.

Despite what we read in the media, the European continent has a lot to offer to competitive, innovative companies and this is where EENW can help organisations make the most of British brands overseas and grow a presence in a new market.

There may be a perception that UK trading with Europe is “dead in the water,” however Europe is still a great platform to start exporting, actually we have found that challenges are greater outside of Europe in terms of currency exchange rates, transportation and competition from the Far East. Therefore, North West businesses should consider Europe as a first step to boost their business quickly and easily.

The harmonisation of legislation and a standard currency across 17 countries, as well as an affection for British brands, mean that a number of businesses who work with us to grow their organisations have had positive experiences when trading with Europe.

The latest trading statistics from HMRC (as of March 2014) show that sales to the European Union in the food, machinery, transport and crude materials sectors have increased.

Furthermore, figures published in the Preliminary Estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) show that several European economies are experiencing growth. In the last quarter alone, Portugal’s economy increase by 0.6 per cent while countries such as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland saw increases upwards of 3 per cent.

Despite some of the doom and gloom in the press around the European economy, there are some great opportunities out there and North West businesses should not ignore this. We encourage any business in the region with ambitions to take their products to Europe to talk to us about how EENW could help.