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Export or die says UPS survey

[ October 12, 2012   //   ]

Tough domestic economic conditions are forcing UK businesses to look overseas for growth, according to a joint study by logistics company UPS and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), published on 12 October.

However, the economy remains very reliant on mature export markets and there has been relatively little penetration of high-growth overseas markets, it adds. There are still significant opportunities in high-growth countries and the UK is still yet to fully capitalise on emerging markets, with UK export growth lagging significantly behind demand in the two fastest-growing BRIC export markets – Brazil and Russia.

Only two of the UK’s top 15 export markets are currently emerging economies – India and China – in 2011, and it remains heavily dependent on its traditional top five export destinations: US, Germany, Netherlands, France and Ireland, whose share of UK exports has decreased only slightly in the past decade, down from 51.2% of all exports in 2001 to 44.6% in 2011.

The study, based on opinion research amongst 1,200 UK firms, found that 78% of non-exporting businesses questioned were increasingly looking overseas for sales opportunities and 77% believe that the UK economy has hit a tipping point, where future growth can only be achieved through export. Four-fifths of the firms questions added that starting to export will be critical to the future success of their business.

Exporters said physical distance was the single greatest barrier holding them back from selling more to high growth regions (76% of respondents), followed by corruption (62%) and political instability (55%).

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