What Next for International Trade?

The Following Article was Kindly Provided by American Express

Alongside global trade tensions, Brexit and the renegotiation of NAFTA are just a few of the ways that the landscape for doing business the world over has changed dramatically. New obstacles have also brought with them new attitudes to international trade.

Recent American Express research found that SMEs – the cornerstone of the global economy – are increasingly concerned about threats to trading relationships and customs procedures. They also report that sales from exports have declined as a percentage of overall sales over the past twelve months.

But SMEs continue to be ambitious. Revenue and profit margin growth are their most important long-term objectives in 2019. And, while SMEs have scaled back growth predictions from 2018, they still expect a healthy uplift in profit over the next three years.

International trade is not only an important, but often vital, way of growing a business. And, when the tough times hit, rather than abandon exporting, business leaders should use them as an opportunity to renew their approach.

One of the best ways that businesses can do this is by taking a fresh look at the markets they want to expand into. It can be tempting, especially in uncertain times, to take a well-trodden path. But it often pays to look towards some lesser-considered options.

Of course, selecting a new target for international trade isn’t always straight forward. Research is required for businesses to make a decision based on as many factors as possible – including existing trade relationships with that country, current economic performance and business environment.

But it is important. It is part of a successful business’ DNA to react to changing times and adjust accordingly. Now is the time for businesses to work together to overcome barriers – whether that’s geography, language or regulation – to build and maintain growth-delivering trading relationships.