According to the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, who released the UK’s export strategy yesterday, exports in goods and services rose by 4.4% last year, and the value of exports has doubled since 1997.
Deborah Collier, digital business expert, and President at global e-commerce authority – The Certificate in Online Business, had described Brexit and the UK EU Trade Agreement as a “Hot Potato”. She adds “The UK Export Strategy has made no mention or provision for Brexit, except to focus on selling to countries outside the EU.”
Citing credible E-Commerce industry statistics – 62.7% of UK E-Commerce exports are sold to the EU – the largest economy in the world, she adds “If we leave the EU without an agreement, the products and services we sell will be liable for import tariffs. Even if UK businesses cover those costs through price reduction, which is highly unrealistic, EU Customers will still have the inconvenience of having to pay import costs on delivery. This inconvenience alone is enough to deter buyers. The UK cannot afford to lose this volume of trade.”
Collier explains “One of the key benefits of e-commerce is access to new markets globally. Barriers to trade are customs, taxation, shipping and distribution costs, as well as legal regulations.” There are heightened costs and competitive challenges when trading internationally. Desirable and competitively priced products and services are paramount. “Uniqueness will be one area the UK needs to focus on, to stay ahead of other international competition”, adds Collier
International shipping costs and the ability for entrepreneurs and small businesses to implement a strategy to alleviate the additional costs of distribution to non-EU countries, is a major challenge. “I am particularly concerned about the livelihoods of small businesses and individual online traders”, says Collier, who is a champion for entrepreneurship. Deborah Collier urges the UK government to address the EU trade issue “head-on”, and to consider the realities and challenges of internal trade to businesses of all sizes, with countries outside the European Union.