Brexit: A long road ahead

Everyone on the pro-Brexit side has been talking about the wonderful opportunities we are going to have in all these other markets once we leave the EU.

At the moment there is absolutely nothing stopping UK companies selling to most countries in the world, you just need companies willing to do it and a government that supports British manufacturing, especially small companies.

As I have mentioned countless times before, we have done exhibitions with Earlex in the past and more recently Clarkes and Ewbank where we are the only UK company there – such as the Canton Fair. We also do major US shows where there may be 3 or 4 UK companies. In the last 3 months we have tied up sales to China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka and expect to be selling to Japan soon (orders taken are already over $800K). All these came from the Canton Show. We are expecting at least 5 other countries in the next 4 months.

Once again in Canton in October we are the only British company there, the Chinese organisers keep asking us why no other British companies come? When Premier Wen Jiabao was visiting the show a few years ago he only visited 6 stands and they made sure that he visited our stand because they wanted to show friendliness to the UK. The French & Germans are selling huge quantities of products to China – the UK is miles behind them.

The only way we are going to get UK companies out exhibiting is to make sure a big chunk of their costs are paid as an inducement – just as they do in Germany, France, Italy etc – maybe tax breaks or something to try to force people to export. The Current Account deficit is unsustainable and getting bigger. This is either financed by selling off our best companies – meaning the Current Account gets worse in the future through losing profits from around the world from the company sold  – and then also bit by bit we lose our best companies, sold off to foreign ownership.

Just being free to negotiate deals does not mean that we will get any benefit from them if we don’t get out there selling our products, actually we could end up importing more. We need an immediate major campaign to get many, many more companies out there exporting. It never happens overnight, it takes time to develop these markets so waiting to start in 2 years’ time will be no good. It also needs to be properly funded by the government, not the diddly squat that they offered last time the government tried to encourage exports, they need to put real hard cash behind it.

If we don’t do this then we will open our doors to trading around the world and be swamped with goods pouring in from all over the world.

Simply negotiating trade deals is not going to work!

This is not negativity, just an honest view from the coalface, which a lot of people do not really have knowledge of.

Julian Baseley

Chairman – Clarke Cable Ltd