19 October 2017

Brexit and beyond: 5 key takeaways from HSBC's Trade Exchanges

Brexit may be the uncertain hurdle facing every business, but delegates at HSBC's Trade Exchange events weren't letting it block their route to new trade opportunities.

Expert panellists in London and Birmingham fielded pressing questions about the likely direction of the EU negotiations and the impact on business.

Business leaders also heard - and shared - insight on current export opportunities in Europe and further afield, particularly in the Americas and China.

These were among the headlines emerging from the sessions:

  1. There's promising growth in our export markets
  2. The weakness of the pound has so far triggered only a modest revival in UK exports. But demand is certainly out there in the rest of the world.

    The global economy is in the best shape since the recession in 2007. Japan is seeing the kind of growth it hasn't experienced for 15 years. Jean-Claude Juncker was right to say Europe has the wind in its sails again (at least from an economic perspective). It's not uncommon to find countries in Eastern and Central Europe experiencing annual growth of 4 to 5 per cent.

    Mark Berrisford-Smith, Head of Economics, Commercial Banking, HSBC UK

  3. Firms can usefully prepare for Brexit - whatever the outcome
  4. Deal or no deal? Experts at the event agreed the `cliff-edge' Brexit scenario is still a possibility. But they were equally clear that businesses can do more than just helplessly await the outcome of the negotiations.

    One of the things businesses can do now to prepare for Brexit is to put a shadow procurement strategy in place. Looking for potential alternative sources of goods that might incur tariffs will put you a little bit ahead of the competition.

    Mark Essex, Director of Public Policy, KPMG

  5. When it comes to Europe, East might be easier
  6. Western European markets are a natural first port of call for UK exporters - but delegates learned there are strong reasons to look slightly further afield.

    We're increasingly seeing companies look at opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe. There are several factors behind that, including the gradual convergence with the rest of Europe and consumer demand picking up strongly in places like Poland. It's also said that 1 per cent growth in the Eurozone triggers growth of 1.3 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe.

    Anna Walker, Associate Director for Europe, Control Risks

  7. It's a good time to move on US investment
  8. A trade deal with the US might be a long way off. Paradoxically, though, that's creating good conditions for those with an eye on US ventures.

    The UK and the US are desperate to show evidence of deepening trade links, but they're hamstrung by not being able to negotiate deals at present. Any business idea that amounts to investment in the US is going to be welcomed with open arms - so if you have a challenge, you'll get a quick answer.

    Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy, Institute of Directors

  9. Success in China calls for speed and research
  10. China is investing huge amounts in innovation in multiple sectors. Foreign firms must do their homework: what they plan to sell may already be on the market locally by the time plans have come to fruition.

    Selling drones into China is a quick route to failure because electronics are everywhere; selling milk powder with British credentials is more likely to succeed, due to mistrust of the Chinese product.

    Alexis Bonhomme, Co-Founder, Curiosity China

Back to the Export Resource Centre





Useful Links

You are leaving the HSBC Commercial Banking website.

Please be aware that the external site policies will differ from our website terms and conditions and privacy policy. The next site will open in a new browser window or tab.

You are leaving the HSBC Commercial Banking website.

Please be aware that the external site policies will differ from our website terms and conditions and privacy policy. The next site will open in a new browser window or tab.