News story: UK export opportunities remain strong after EU referendum

Many businesses are uncertain of how the EU referendum result will affect them. Will they have to pay higher tariffs or observe new quotas? Will the cost of doing business in other markets increase?

While the outcome of future negotiations can’t be predicted, nothing changes until the UK has exited from the European Single Market. This won’t happen until at least 2 years after the UK has invoked Article 50, which formally withdraws the UK from the EU. Even then exporters will only be affected if the UK exits the European Single Market as well as the EU. Until then:

  • goods and people will continue to move freely between the UK and other EU member states
  • the UK is still considered part of the EU when trading with countries that have a trade deal with the EU

If the UK does exit the European Single Market, it will be governed by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules until any new trade deals are negotiated. We’ll remain a competitive player on the global stage because all major economies and most minor ones are members of the WTO. The WTO requires each member to charge the others the same tariffs and grant them ‘most favoured nation’ market access.

There are plenty of opportunities right now for UK businesses to grow through exporting – and many reasons to take advantage of them. Recent research found that exporting led to ‘a level of growth not otherwise possible’ for 85 per cent of exporters. The same research found that exporting had significantly improved the profile or credibility of 87 per cent of exporters.

Opportunities for businesses new to exporting

If you’re new to exporting, your products or services are very likely to have a market outside the UK. Expanding to these markets needn’t be difficult, particularly if they’re in the EU. And exporting can both increase your profit margins and protect your business from economic instability by diversifying risk.

For a step-by-step overview of how to make the journey from supplying the domestic market to exporting around the world, visit the Exporting is GREAT website, and follow the ‘three steps to becoming an exporter’. You’ll find helpful information and resources from government and other trusted organisations, and can browse and apply for live export opportunities around the world.

For a simple overview of how to start exporting, see GOV.UK’s page on starting to export.

Opportunities for businesses already exporting

If your business is already exporting, we can help you to export more and find opportunities in new markets – potentially increasing profits and spreading out risk.

Created by the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Exporting is GREAT website lists thousands of new export opportunities and lets you filter them by sector, market, opportunity type and contract value. You can also register for the upcoming Exporter Directory, which will make your products and services easily accessible to buyers worldwide.

DIT offers a variety of services for exporters, including exporting country guides, trade events for all sectors and markets and financing and insurance services (through UK Export Finance). There are also regional offices where you can speak to an international trade adviser for free.

GOV.UK offers straightforward guidance on imports and exports as well as services such as finding commodity codes for import and export duty.

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