By Maximilian Clarke
Businesses should be considering a combination of import and export if they are to remain competitive in a global marketplace, according to international trade expert Nicole Howarth.
Globalised production means that the import component of exports has risen in the UK, a trend which the managing director of award-winning Global Freight believes is necessary for economic recovery.
Mrs Howarth's call for two-way international trade follows Prime Minister David Cameron's comments that importing low cost goods from China should not be a sign of failure, and that businesses can then “benefit from choice, competition and low prices in shops.”
With around 60 per cent of the global GDP coming from the growing overseas markets of the BRIC group of countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China by 2015, Mrs Howarth believes trading overseas can help small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) secure post-recession survival.
But she said it is unrealistic in the current economic climate for UK companies to concentrate solely on exports, when importing some level of product could help lower costs for struggling UK manufacturers.
Mrs Howarth said: “Companies should also be considering a combination of both import and export, with imports often necessary for British companies to compete on a global level playing field.
“Our client, Mistral Boilers, is a great example of a company making the best use of international trade both importing and exporting. Around 15 per cent of its product is imported, giving the company the competitive edge to gain new exports to New Zealand, the Falkland Islands and Chile. Another client, Spears of Shrewsbury, which manufactures and imports parts for the brewery industry, contracts us to bring in goods from China which are then distributed across the UK.”
Telford-based Global Freight also deals in cross-trade via the Far East and South Africa with goods delivered direct to customers in Japan, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden, amongst other destinations.
“If SMEs are taking those first steps into international trade, it is so important to get it right first time, to demonstrate that international trade can be an option to helping to grow businesses post-recession. Getting it wrong could see businesses fail, doors closed to overseas trade and vast international opportunities lost,” she added.
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