Brexit 'holding back import/export decisions'

The continuing uncertainty over Brexit is increasingly hampering British businesses' decisions over whether or not to trade internationally, a survey on Thursday revealed.

EU flag flying in front of Big Ben at UK Parliament in London
The survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) in conjunction with DHL Express UK, showed that 49 per cent of companies said the Brexit impasse was affecting decisions over both import and export policies.Released to coincide with the BCC International Trade Summit being held in London, the survey of 2,500 businesses also showed that exchange rate volatility was affecting many companies' investment decisions, with almost two-thirds of manufacturers considering it a major concern.On the positive side, the research showed that firms that did trade internationally were more likely to be innovative within their businesses than those who were just UK-focused.

British Chambers of Commerce International Trade Summit: to help companies navigate the uncertainty of Brexit

Adam Marshall, BCC director-general, 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.“While business faces uncertain times, our research shows that businesses who do trade internationally are more innovative and dynamic compared to those who just focus their attention on the UK market. 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.“At our International Trade Summit, we will hear from trade experts and dynamic businesses – as we look to help build connections and encourage firms to unleash their potential. Chambers of commerce work day in day out to support businesses trading internationally, but we also need the government to step up and provide clarity now or put British competitiveness at risk.”
Relocate Magazine Autumn Issue 2018
Read more about Brexit in the latest issue of Relocate magazine!

What are the benefits of international trade for UK companies?

Shannon Diett, marketing vice-president at DHL Express UK, added: “The uncertainty expressed by British businesses taking part in this survey mirrors the increasing concern we are hearing from our customers, both of which further highlight the criticality now surrounding the Brexit negotiations. It is important to note, however, that increasing the number of markets a business trades with helps to reduce risk and increase the opportunities for growth. “It is imperative that decisions are made to allow businesses to plan for a successful Brexit and to facilitate continued smooth international trade with Europe.“At DHL Express we are preparing for every scenario and as part of this we are reviewing resources, infrastructure, systems and people. We are joining forces across the DHL divisions to do everything within our power to ensure our customers can continue to operate and trade internationally in the smoothest way possible.”

For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.

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