Businesses trading overseas are likely to be more innovative than UK-centric firms

Despite the benefits that come with doing business abroad, Brexit makes 49% of companies hesitant to do so, says the British Chamber of Commerce

Businesses trading overseas are likely to be more innovative than UK-centric firms

Finding ways to continually update your product or service and bring new things to consumers can be challenging yet rewarding. Indeed, it’s baffling how Apple manages to muster a new iPhone year-on-year – just look at its newest devices – yet it’s led the firm to become the first to be valued at $1tn. However, it seems companies that ship overseas are more likely to harbour such innovation.

Surveying 2,530 businesses, The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) in partnership with DHL Express UK, the courier service, discovered 65% striking global trade have unveiled a new product or service in the last year, compared to only 41% focusing on Britain.

There are plenty of startups paying credence to that notion. For instance, MacRebeur, the plastic road company, has expanded to the US this year and begun laying foundations in Bahrain, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey. It now looks to incorporate mobile recycling plants to decrease the waste from its global demand.

Although the benefits are clear, there are a number of factors keeping companies from taking the plunge into overseas trade. For instance, 64% of B2C firms and 61% of manufacturers view exchange rate volatility brought on by Brexit as a big turn-off. However, it isn’t enough to dissuade many B2B companies, of which only 36% view unpredictable currencies as an issue.

Commenting on the findings, Adam Marshall, director general at BCC, said: “Firms have been dealing with uncertainty over the future relationship with the EU since the referendum vote over two years ago. However, this survey shows that as we get closer to the crunch, the lack of precision is starting to have a material impact on their decision-making.

“It is vital that clear progress is made in negotiations – to give firms confidence and empower them to take risks and try to break into new markets, creating the Global Britain this government so often talks about.”

Given Britain failed to make a breakthrough for a trade deal at the EU summit in Brussels this week, confidence may not be high. 

Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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