SMEs need more support to export, not less

Commenting on Fedex’s latest export report, Paul Langhorn, a Baker Tilly partner who advises firms on international expansion said:

‘While the UK’s trade gap is rising, the latest report from Fedex suggests that SMEs are bucking the national trend by exporting more than they import. The report shows that while there continues to be a reliance on exports to Europe and the English speaking world, British SMEs are starting to take advantage of opportunities in high growth markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

While these results are largely encouraging, the bigger picture is that the government is struggling to meet its own export targets. It’s therefore all the more surprising that there has been recent speculation that the UKTI – the government body charged with supporting UK firms to grow international trade - could be in line for a downgrade.

It’s vitally important that SMEs receive the right level of advice and support. There are many risks and opportunities to weigh up before taking the plunge into export markets, and reducing that level of support at this time could send the wrong message to small and middle market businesses.

What’s encouraging in this latest report is that many SMEs are optimistic about exporting in the future, with only a quarter believing that they will only be trading in the domestic market in 10 years’ time.’