The world keeps turning...and trading

 By Malcolm McGready

It’s more than a year since the Brexit vote and a good time to reflect on the empirical experience of what has happened on the international trade front.

One thing that has been confirmed is that there appears to have been no coherent plan of what Brexit would look like and how to approach the negotiations. The outcome of the recent general election hasn’t helped the Government either. We are thus left in a world with as much uncertainty now as we had twelve months ago. I suspect this will be the case for some time to come.

In my role at Ensors I am lucky in that I deal with many of our international clients. Following the Brexit vote I confess that I was somewhat concerned as to how the uncertainties about the UK’s future relationship with the EU would affect these clients. Indeed, a couple immediately shut up shop as a result.

The summer holiday season will also have been a poignant reminder to many of the weakness of the pound. However, as businesses have adjusted to the new reality, we have seen inward investment from overseas as UK assets become relatively cheaper leading to some of our international clients expanding their UK operations. In our region we also see investment from large economies such as China into Cambridge driving economic growth there. Our export led clients have been expanding their order books at the same time.

The UK remains one of the world’s major economies and, as a result, other countries will want to continue to trade with us. We continue to get a steady stream of enquiries from overseas businesses looking to set up in the UK. US businesses, for example, still find the UK a good first step when they are looking to globalise their businesses.

Overall, I have been encouraged by what I have seen in that business continues and deals with uncertainty as ever it did. We continue to be able to help both our existing clients and new clients with international trade aspirations. Whilst it is true that the UK’s trading relationship with the EU will likely change in the coming years we know that we can play an important role in helping our clients understand how this will affect them and to plan accordingly.

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