International trading should not be an issue, according to SMMT

14 November 2007 #SMMT News

  • China seen as biggest market threat from abroad, according to industry
  • European markets seen as strongest opportunities for trading outside the UK
  • Lack of local knowledge seen as major barrier to overseas business

These are just some of the findings that will appear in the fifth SMMT annual issues survey, Automotive Manufacturing 2007, the Industry Perspective, to be published on 27 November. One of the key areas covered in the report is the perceived threats and opportunities for UK automotive business in overseas markets. Doing business in an emerging market is not something that should be done without talking to people who know – which is why SMMT has a team dedicated to international trade.

‘Doing business with your regular contacts is a comfortable feeling but may not be the most profitable approach. The UK automotive industry must be mindful that it is operating in a global market,’ said Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive. ‘It is similar to any relationship. Creating new friends can be more challenging than staying within your regular circles, but it can often turn out to be an even more rewarding experience in the end.’

The main reason for UK business not seeking opportunities overseas appears to be a lack of understanding. The starting point is to make contact with someone else doing similar business in the new territory. This is where SMMT has the expertise and its international department exists to increase awareness and create the opportunity for companies to develop partnerships in other countries.

‘Interestingly, these results show that perception of barriers to market entry may not always turn out to be those experienced in reality,’ said David Croxson, head of SMMT international department. ‘A lot of companies still do not consider new overseas opportunities when they are comfortable with current local markets. But in today’s global arena, all markets are competitive and there are many international business opportunities – you just need to know where to look.’

SMMT can help make local contacts and introductions and as a premier trade body is in the best position to advise on all the practical issues that surround international business. It also has well established links through foreign trade shows, hosts seminar groups and commissions reports on overseas markets.

A more detailed analysis of the issues that currently concern industry bosses will be contained within the annual issues survey, which will be published in full on Tuesday 27 November 2007. It will be available to download free of charge from

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