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STUART NIVISON, Head of Trade and Supply Chain, HSBC Europe:This is a difficult time for British businesses. They've got two choices.You can either batten down the hatches; cut costs, cut back, focus on your core suppliers and your core buyers, and try and weather through the storm.Or you can try and look overseas and take advantage of weaker sterling, the new export market, and adapt what you do so that you're more competitive and so you can actually develop new markets. I think out of this they'll be some companies that don't just survive the crisis, they'll actually thrive.
IAN CAMPBELL, Chairman of the Judges, International Trade Awards 2009:Companies that trade internationally have a much greater of succeeding in the long term.They're less susceptible to the ups and downs of the domestic market, they're able to spread their risks across a number of different markets, so when one market perhaps is booming and the other one is not doing so well, they can focus more of their effort in the better market.They can spread their development costs over a much greater area, so instead of producing something for a market of 100,000 companies in the UK, they can produce something that maybe they can sell to 500,000 companies worldwide.They also have the opportunity to trade in different markets and to learn from those different markets...so a product that perhaps they haven't thought of for this market, they will come across in another market overseas that is being developed by one of their competitors and think, 'yeah, that's something that we could make, we could sell, we could produce.'
STEPHEN BATES, CEO, ITRS Group:I think in the modern world, for business, you don't have the choice. You have to look at a much broader market than just the UK shores.
THIBAUD LANGLET, Head of ITRS Asia:Asia is the growing market for the world economy today. China in particular. We started in Hong Kong, it's the gateway, I would say, to China. Hopefully we'll be able to replicate what we've successfully done in Europe and continue to grow in other places like Singapore and Tokyo aswell.
JASON THEODOROU, Fresh Business Thinking:Do you advise British businesses to trade internationally?
MISHA KIPNIS, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, ITRS Group:I think it really depends on what kind of business it is. I think you really have to look at the business and think, is it going to gain from being internationally present? There is a big overhead on having offices around the world because you have to maintain the standards that you have when you start, and it's quite difficult to do that because you're working through people and also there are different cultures. It's quite difficult to keep it all together.It's a challenge but it definitely pays back once you've got it all organized and you have it all working well.
IAN CAMPBELL, Chairman of the Judges, International Trade Awards 2009:So there are a whole raft of different reasons, but generally speaking, it's down to the fact that if you trade overseas, you're more likely to stay in business a lot longer.