Post-Brexit And Post-COVID Trade Challenges For SMEs In Europe

<p><strong>How businesses should prepare for trade with Asia</strong></p><p>COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on trade between UK and EU, with all countries reporting significant drops in exports and imports. UK has suffered a much more extreme effect, with ground freight to EU reportedly dropping by as much as 68% in January 2021 after UK&rsquo;s departure from the EU customs union. It appears that the additional effort and cost required to deal with the post-Brexit trade arrangements is driving many EU businesses to turn their backs on UK suppliers and customers. Equally, there is evidence that smaller UK businesses are calling a halt to selling their products into the EU, at least for the moment.</p><p>This will force many UK and EU businesses to turn to non-EU markets to fill these gaps. Countries in Asia, which have dealt with COVID-19 much more quickly, and with less impact on their societies and economies, are now returning to near pre-COVID growth. Many businesses, in particular SMEs, without prior experience of doing business in Asia, are going to need support in developing these trade channels.</p><p>The cultural differences in communication and relationships are among the first things to overcome. Identifying which countries and customer segments are likely to want to buy your products and services; understanding customer and consumer needs; adapting the product portfolio; choosing the best marketing strategy; these are all questions which businesses will have to address. On the import side, how do you identify and qualify reliable suppliers, ensure the right quality and consistency of materials, and deal with longer and more complex supply chains?</p><p>Many SMEs across Europe are now asking themselves these questions and will need to find quick answers to replace the business losses, with the full range of physical checks on goods between UK and EU coming into effect in July 2021.</p><p>Navigating the complexities of doing business in Asia needs the cultural sensitivity, expertise, and knowledge that many companies do not possess in-house. They should not hesitate in building these skills to ensure they are prepared for the post-Brexit and post-COVID realities.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Colin Reed

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