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Exporting offers ‘significant rewards’ despite muddy picture

A survey of more than 2,300 SME exporters suggests overseas trade will remain a challenge in 2023, but the potential rewards are worth the investment with the right support at hand.

According to the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), while just over a quarter of SME exporters are reporting an increase in export sales heading into 2023, a similar proportion are reporting a fall in sales.

Correspondingly, just over a third expect to see increased profitability over the next 12 months but an almost equal number expect a decrease.

William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, explained:

“Last autumn the World Trade Organisation forecast global trade growth of just 1 per cent in 2023, down from 3 per cent in 2022. This is creating huge headwinds for smaller UK firms battered by the pandemic, Brexit and energy price shocks. China’s sudden full reopening may also create additional supply chain turbulence this year, should the Covid pandemic continue to impact health and economic output.

“Against this background it could be some time before the global shipping and trading system returns to anything approaching normality.”

Despite this, trade experts remain adamant that trading internationally results in more successful and resilient business. This is backed up by research during the pandemic which showed that exporters fared much better than non-exporters.

Grace Thompson, Public Affairs Adviser at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), said:

“We’re in the middle of a difficult economic and geopolitical period, there’s no doubt about it. Businesses always need to be prepared to take risks, and there is an extent to which investing in international trade at this time is a risk. But the potential rewards are significant – you can grow your sales and reach new customers by trading internationally.”

Government support available for businesses thinking about exporting for the first time includes the UK Export Academy, which offers free, comprehensive training for SMEs to learn how to sell to customers and secure contracts around the world with confidence.

SMEs in Greater Manchester can also benefit from one-to-one guidance from our expert team of Manufacturing Advisors.

Speak to one of our advisors today to get started

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