Amongst the overall disruptive trade conditions, the UK Government is pursuing a post Brexit policy of Global Britain as the UK severs ties with its single biggest market.
In particular, the Government is urging exporters to tap into the growing markets around the world. What does the policy of Global Britain and trade objectives mean for business, especially the role of SMEs and how will it be defined post Brexit?
PES Performance managing director, Mike Maddock, explains his thoughts on the opportunities and threats for Britain globally post-Brexit.
“Quite simply we must have a global Britain, as we cannot support our aspirations solely in the domestic markets, and as the world resets, this could become the UKs best opportunity out of adversity.
“Defining the role of SMEs in Global Britain is important and our Manufacturing SMEs are the backbone of the supply chain. They are dynamic, drive new opportunities and are at the forefront of new technology development.
“However, we must step back and understand what is being asked of our small business community, with limited human capital, in the current climate. The topography of what lies ahead is at the very least challenging.
These challenges include.
• The exit from the EU and the uncertainty of a trade deal or no trade deal,
• The COVID-19 pandemic meaning many businesses having to adapt to survive on a weekly basis, never mind considering the long-term impacts.
• Can they retain their current share of EU business? Especially if the initial impact on trade with the EU no longer makes it viable, either due to the import costs of raw materials or due to tariff or no-tariff restrictions.
• Investigating new global markets
• Doing business in a digital world. How to adapt and invest to remain competitive
• New product development R&D
• De-risking the supply chain through onshoring or diversification
• Skills and talent development and retention
• Net Zero omission targets and rules
• Potential changes in their customers’ demands and opinions during the next five years
“These challenges can be aligned; however smaller businesses are just trying to survive. And rather than strategies, they need guidance and clarity.
“What does this mean for the near-term future of global trade? This will be dependent on the policies of the government, to deliver as much clarity as quickly as possible.
“The danger is that given the volume of demands currently placed on UK business, they adopt a survival mode, rather than investing; waiting until they have a level of certainty on the geopolitical and trading landscape.
“The role of SMEs in the UK economy is crucial, and critical to their success will be how the government choose to support our businesses through clear policies and investment.”
This is an excerpt from the Make UK Online Leadership Summit – ‘Resetting UK Manufacturing’, in partnership with Rockwell Automation. 18th November 2020.