Fane International looking outside of the EU for post-Brexit opportunities
The Brexit conundrum will apply to none more than those firms who do the majority of their business abroad through import and export of goods. Boris Johnson’s new Withdrawal Agreement paves the way for a free-trade agreement with Europe to be negotiated, as well as the possibilities to strike new, meaningful trade deals with other nations.
What the new free-trade agreement with Europe may involve is not yet clear, as is the case with the possibilities arising from new trade deals with other nations. Some firms who trade with Europe will still be set back by the concern that the UK may still have to revert to trading with the EU on world trade terms, should a free trade agreement not be finalised before the end of the transitional period. It's worth noting that Johnson has repeatedly said throughout his election campaign that this transitional period would not be extended past 2020.
Some businesses in export feel that the answer to their longevity amid the uncertainty is to look beyond the EU and seize the opportunities Brexit presents for SMEs to use Britain’s hand in developing markets worldwide. Fane International, a business founded in 1958 and based in Castleford, West Yorkshire, is one of these.
The firm specialises in the design and manufacture of precise loudspeaker components, with 70 per cent of its sales being exports. Managing director, Mark Barnes, wrote in The Parliamentary Review that he believes a Britain ‘outside of the EU’ can offer ‘enormous opportunities for British SMEs’.
Barnes wrote: “Britain continues to have a strong cachet in developing markets around the world – enormously exciting markets which exhibit year-on-year economic growth rates far in excess of anything seen within the EU. We are keen to seize these opportunities and view the new position of the UK as an independent sovereign state as an exciting new dawn for British business and industry.”
While some have sat on their hands and not completed the required paperwork as Brexit negotiations have rumbled on over the last two years, Barnes emphasises that Fane has made best use of time in knowing that the UK will leave the EU, equipping the business to ‘adapt to the developing political and business environment in compliance with the 2016 referendum result.’
Fane’s model for tapping into worldwide markets has also allowed for the creation of new jobs. Going into more detail on this, Barnes said: “We are investing in new markets through recruitment of international sales and business development managers, who will handle our activities in key world regions. The first of these is the Asia-Pacific region, where our historic links in India give us a unique opportunity to drive growth in this enormously vibrant market.”
Even for those firms who are looking to expand abroad but may not have an established network to tap into, Barnes adds that recruiting local experts on the ground within the target region to help develop a market presence for the business can still be a route forward.
He wrote: “The recruitment of local industrial specialists, who operate on the ground inside the target region and have an understanding of the specific nuances of the domestic business culture, is enabling us to meet the challenges of the future with confidence and optimism.”