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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Gary Grumble

I’m noted as a reasonable sort of guy, I mean when, recently, that blind man tripped me up with his white stick, accidentally, of course, I took a softly softly approach, I only punched him once.

I am however hot under the collar with some of UK’s exporters, the ones who buy from the USA or buy goods/ technology with U.S. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Some of them get so paranoid about U.S. export and re-export controls such as the military ones that are caught under what is known as ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) under the control of the U.S. Dept.of State that they seem to clean forget that they are themselves English (or British). They are that busy ploughing through ITAR that they forget that their first responsibility is to comply with U.K.and E.C. regulations and they in some cases when questioned about their U.K. licencing system point to the U.S approval and say “There you are Mr. Customs man, our U.S. friends have said it is OK to re-export from the U.K.

We know that failure to comply with U.S. controls can be very damaging, there have been some multi million dollar fines imposed on some U.K defense companies, it would be stupid for a company to get itself published in the U.S. Federal Register for transgressions because that could lead to the company being blacklisted and no U.S. company would be allowed to trade with them which could lead to bankruptcy. However achieving a balance is the best option, achieve a satisfactory level of compliance with both sides of the Atlantic and breathe easy or at least breathe easier.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Be positive about Exporting!

I’m starting this blog after a great Twitter discussion. It followed a tweet about how the CBI seeks £20bn state boost for UK exports to BRIC economies ( Was this announcement good news? Surely it has to be good news, to quote from the statement:

CBI study finds UK's share of global exports has declined to 4.1% from 5.3% in 2000.

The CBI has urged the government to provide a £20bn boost to the economy over the next decade through a radical overhaul of Britain's export strategy focusing on providing the right products for the world's high-growth markets.

John Cridland, CBI director general, said: "We need to capitalise on the booming success of the Bric countries, and look to future high-growth markets such as Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey. The middle classes in emerging economies will have needs that our producers are more than able to fulfil."

How could this not be good news … but there are always things to be aware of, be cautious of – but that shouldn’t stop the fact that getting on with EXPORTING is GOOD. We hear too many stories of companies who got into trouble because their goods got delayed in customs and it cost them loads of money, they didn’t do the paperwork right and they got fined, they didn’t understand international payment issues so they didn’t get their money, etc, etc, etc.

Though I know we need to temper enthusiasm with reasoned words of advice and caution can’t we be more positive with the public perception of EXPORTING? It's profitable! It’s fun! Companies are 34% more likely to survive a recession if they export! Here’s some more good news:
Taking your products (or indeed your services) to beyond the shores of the United Kingdom opens up almost limitless opportunities for expansion and growth. Why sell to 70 million people when you have a global market of 7 billion?

But you may argue: Isn’t it expensive to begin exporting and there are lots of the risks? Of course we can't ignore this. Companies can get caught out if they don’t do the homework but that's always been the case and it doesn't just affect UK exporters, other countries do it and the UK is still the 13th largest exporting country of merchandise in the world. Export/ import regulations are many and varied – but isn’t that part of the fun, the challenge, the reason I’m still involved in and excited by international trade. Companies make more money exporting than they can in home markets and it encourages growth and sustainability. We should be positive about exporting, encouraging them to try, and if there is a problem, try again.

Come on people …. Comment and Encourage!!