Eurozone uncertainty puts West Midlands SMEs off exploring international trade (From Bromsgrove Advertiser)
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Eurozone uncertainty puts West Midlands SMEs off exploring international trade
9:10am Friday 20th July 2012 in Business Daily
FEARS over the uncertainty and instability in the eurozone are preventing small and medium-sized businesses in the West Midlands from exploring the potential of trading internationally, says independent invoice finance specialist Bibby Financial Services (BFS).
A study of UK small and medium-sized businesses commissioned by BFS in the West Midlands reveals that almost a quarter (22 per cent) of firms cited the eurozone crisis, with the resulting market instability and impact on exports, as having the biggest negative impact on the day-to-day performance of their business.
While 18 per cent of business owners and managers in the region said that it was financial and cultural barriers as well as costs and export regulations which were preventing them from trading in foreign markets, 14 per cent of respondents said they had never considered exporting at all and the same figure said they were too concerned about the instability of European markets to even think about doing business internationally.
UK trade figures show that there is still a net import from Europe, with the gap between imports and exports growing 86 per cent in the past year.
The UK’s EU exports decreased to £11.4 billion in April, a drop of over 20 per cent from March - unusually high for the seasonal export dip between March and April.
Sharon Wiltshire, spokeswoman for Bibby Financial Services in the West Midlands, said: “Trade to EU member states is clearly being affected by the European debt crisis but to find that this issue is preventing West Midlands businesses from any involvement in overseas trade is a huge concern.
“Identifying opportunities for growth in new markets is vital to the longevity of any business and it is important that the effect of current turmoil in Europe on the day-to-day performance of firms in the West Midlands is kept to a minimum.
“Equally, business owners and managers in the region should not overlook a pool of potential international customers because of fears associated with the financial, cultural or legal implications, as there is help and support available to overcome such barriers.”
She added: “Businesses need to be aware that there is help out there to overcome the challenges associated with trading internationally and that despite economic stagnation in the EU, there is still a strong demand for quality products from all over the globe.”