Global opportunities for SMEs

EU markets are likely to remain attractive to UK companies - not least because of geographical and single-market proximity. As part of a growth strategy, though, other regions can present a compelling proposition.


As an English-speaking nation with a highly educated workforce and more than a million British citizens, Australia holds great appeal for UK business.

The world's 12th richest economy, Australia has enjoyed 24 years of uninterrupted economic growth, driven by mining, healthcare and financial services. Its population of 23 million enjoys a GDP per capita that places it among the world's wealthiest¹.

Manufactured goods are the country's biggest import, totalling a value of AUSD17bn in June 2016. Of these, more than AUSD2.3bn came from the UK². The country's growing healthcare spend and role in biotech have created ongoing demand for medical devices, services and pharma. There's also a strong appetite for niche and premium food and drink.

As a result of significant regional investment, opportunities may arise for UK expertise in rail and road infrastructure, city development, and digital products (including e-commerce, e-publishing, payment technologies and fintech).


Steady economic reforms and the deliberate removal of trade barriers have made India a more attractive and open market in which to do business; bilateral trade with the UK in 2014 was worth GBP18.94bn¹.

India has the fastest-growing GDP rate in an emerging market. The IMF estimates this increased by as much as 7.3% in 2015 alone, and a report by McKinsey suggests that India's economy will grow five-fold in the next 20 years³.

The 1.3 billion-strong nation currently has the third greatest purchasing power parity in the world, and rising personal incomes mean growing consumer demand⁴. As a country undergoing widescale urbanisation, India is seeing a young, large and English-speaking workforce spreading through its 450+ cities.

India's telecommunications, automotive and pharmaceutical sectors are burgeoning, and the country has identified specific areas for economic development that include finance, healthcare, education, advanced engineering, energy development and infrastructure - including the creation of 98 'smart cities'. The UK has already built a strong reputation in India in many of these sectors¹.


Singapore is one of the UK's largest Asian trading partners, accounting for half of UK exports to ASEAN (GBP5.6bn in 2014)¹. The country's economic growth is forecast to reach an average annual rate of 3.1% in 2017-20 5, with the IMF predicting an increase of 2.9% in 2016¹.

Located at the convergence of major east and west shipping lanes, Singapore is the fourth largest global financial centre and a historic British trading post. Its residents enjoy a per capita income of USD56,000, higher than that of most developed countries (including the UK).

Ranked as the world's easiest place to do business⁶, Singapore has an effective regulatory system, and an open, trade-driven market. ASEAN's most developed economy, the country has 20 FTAs with 32 trading partners and is a signatory of TPP. More than 30,000 UK residents live there, and more than 50% of the world's population is within a 6-hour flight away¹.

Singapore's SmartNation project aims to crowd-source solutions that can revolutionise living, transport and healthcare. The Creative Industries Development Strategy looks for knowledge in tourism, marketing, digital media and content creation, and a wide range of design disciplines - excellent prospects for UK expertise.


Canada's location in North America positions it as a route for trade into Europe in the East, Asia to the West and its largest partner - the US - on its southern border.

The country acknowledges the importance of higher education for a better-performing economy, borne out by its skilled workforce. It also provides a very competitive R&D environment, with the lowest business costs in the G7 for R&D-intensive sectors, according to KPMG7.

The UK is Canada's sixth largest source of goods imports and its second largest importer of services¹. The country will soon have a requirement for modern defence-sector manufacturing and, as part of the government's New Building Canada Plan, knowledge in water, transportation and social services infrastructure.

A large importer and exporter of cars (to the values of CUSD26.9bn and CUSD45.2bn respectively)8, Canada also offers an attractive market for R&D, with the lowest costs in the G7.


1 UK Government

2 Australian Government

3 India in Business

4 Institute of Export

5 Economist Intelligence Unit

6 World Bank Group

7 Government of Canada

8 The Observatory of Economic Complexity


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