Small And Medium Sized Firms Urged To Boost Trade Links With China

It's More Important Than Ever For British SMEs To Look Beyond The Eurozone


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been urged to look further afield when seeking new export opportunities.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) believes companies cannot afford to become too reliant on established trade links with eurozone countries, as economic growth in this part of the world is expected to be sluggish.

David Cameron is leading a British trade mission to China this week and he is keen to strengthen relations between the two countries in the future.

National policy chairman for the FSB Mike Cherry is taking part in the visit and he said it is good to see so many representatives from SMEs getting involved.

"Trading with China opens up many opportunities for small firms and we know Asia is a region our members are considering as a future export partner," he commented.

"While trade with the eurozone will always be a priority for the UK's small firms, it is important firms also look to seize the opportunities from other fast-growing nations further afield."

The trade delegation will visit three major cities during the trip, including Chengdu, Beijing and Shanghai, giving British firms a unique opportunity to see how the Chinese market works.

With the global economy showing signs of recovery in recent months, the FSB thinks the time is right for SMEs to increase their exporting activity.

Research conducted by the organisation showed almost £800 million could be added to the UK economy every year if the six per cent of FSB members who said they wanted to export in the future stayed true to their word.

Last month, business secretary Vince Cable identified Russia as an important export hub for British SMEs.

He said the value of goods and services sold to this growing market increased by 75 per cent to £7.6 billion between 2009 and 2012 and this figure is likely to rise further.

A new $50 million (£30.5 million) fund to help British firms sell items in Russia is also being made available.

Expert Opinion
Whether it be China, Russia or indeed any other country, UK companies must engage in more international trade if we are to rebalance our economy and create sustainable growth in the future.

“We support this latest trade mission and believe it will highlight some huge opportunities for small and medium firms looking to expand and develop new trade links with China.

“Many small firms have grown into larger organisations on the back of a successful export strategy and it is vital that more are encouraged to do the same. Businesses looking to trade overseas have a host of opportunities available to them, but they also have a large number of issues that they need to deal with and overcome. It is imperative, therefore, that bosses exploring their options with international companies take appropriate and early legal advice.”
Steven Beahan, Partner