UK SMEs ‘optimistic’ about international trade

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are feeling ‘optimistic’ about their international trade prospects in the years ahead, a new study reveals.
The survey, which was carried out by international payments company OFX, suggests that small British businesses are rising above Brexit uncertainties.
In fact, it found that 62 per cent of SMEs feel confident about doing business outside of the UK in the years ahead.
Meanwhile, almost half (42 per cent) of the 500 businesses surveyed told OFX that Brexit-related uncertainties had not reduced their appetite for international trade.
In comparison, only 15 per cent of respondents said that confusion and uncertainty over trade deals and customs arrangements had reduced their interest in imports and exports.
Looking ahead, 40 per cent of firms said that they were anticipating an increase in international sales over the next 12 months. This is up from just 17 per cent of SMEs that said the same this time last year, the report reveals.
Meanwhile, 47 per cent of respondents said that they had already increased their international revenues substantially since the last survey, with SMEs boosting overseas sales by an average of around £500,000.
The majority of SMEs quizzed said that they were eyeing up future trade opportunities with Western Europe (45 per cent), followed closely by the USA (36 per cent) and Eastern Europe (20 per cent) in the years ahead.
Jake Trask, a Research Director at OFX, said: “More than a year after Article 50 was triggered, small businesses have learnt to live with Brexit uncertainty, and refuse to let it limit their European ambitions.
“Despite the slow progress of Brexit negotiations, businesses are increasingly optimistic about trade with Western Europe – suggesting a desire to keep calm and carry on with international business, along with a quiet optimism that all will be well.”

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