RBBC announces Guest Speaker for Parliamentary Lunch on 7th Nov

RBBC announces Guest Speaker for Parliamentary Lunch on 7th Nov

RBCC have confirmed that Astra Zeneca's Toke Skovlund will be guest speaker at the Parliamentary Lunch in November "We would like to announce that we have confirmed our Guest Speaker for the upcoming RBCC Parliamentary Lunch at the House of Lords on Tuesday 7 November, hosted by The Lord Cromwell. We are delighted to be welcoming Toke Skovlund, Director of International Government Affairs, Russia and MEA, for AstraZeneca, to tell us about the pharmaceutical company's operations in the Russian Federation. Having invested in a large manufacturing and packaging plant in the Kaluga region in 2015, AstraZeneca have shown great commitment to the Russian market. We are looking forward to hearing about AstraZeneca's experience of undertaking such a large-scale project in one of Russia's manufacturing centres, and what plans the company has for the future." To find out more and to book your place, visit the event listing at the RBCC website HERE...
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Ballast Water Management – Why is it important?

Ballast Water Management – Why is it important?

Ballast Water Management – Why is it important? Officer of the Watch examines legislative efforts to avoid disastrous environmental risks posed by ballast water from international shipping The problem: Ships use ballast to control their stability. The ballast can be solid, and historically rocks or iron ingots might have been used, but nowadays the stability is provided by pumping water in and out of tanks on the ship. By filling or emptying different tanks, the stability of the ship can be adjusted and controlled. On the new generation of large ships, the amount of ballast water can be very considerable, amounting to many tens of thousands of tonnes.  Ballast tanks must be either full or empty to avoid water slopping about inside them.   Typically, a ship will pump in ballast water when leaving a port and pump it out again on arrival. This has led to some major environmental and public health disasters. For example, in 1991 a ship loaded in Bangladesh and discharged in...
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Brexit: Command Economy – A Warning from History

Brexit: Command Economy – A Warning from History

Is it not wonderful to live in a democracy where the spirit of free enterprise and free trade is protected by the laws of a State within a legal system that has been shaped to prevent business being subjected to irrational and arbitrary decisions of government ? By Joe Sweetinburgh, guest author This article refers to the EU Repeal Bill vote in the House of Commons on 11th September 2017 The answer until last night was almost certainly "yes". However, as of this morning such a description may no longer apply. This general freedom now seems to be in jeopardy due to an Executive that on the one hand proclaims the need for national sovereignty yet on the other hand is poised to reduce the sovereignty of the individual and businesses by conferring upon itself, powers to shape and dictate the terms of Brexit without reference to Parliament or the Courts by delegating the passing or laws and regulations to Secretary of States....
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Sterling Facing Critical Week

Sterling Facing Critical Week

There's a perfect storm approaching the pound this week with critical factors affecting Sterling on a collision course. Analysts cite political uncertainty, macroeconomic data and monetary policy as the three main drivers of economy and therefore currency. There isn’t one which is more important than the other and they are all interwoven each influencing the other two to a varying degree dependent upon the level of each or in the case of data, the degree of variation from expectation. This week the U.K. faces the influence of all three drivers. Parliament will vote on the first Bill put before it that provides an opportunity to appraise the Government's performance. Despite the almost universal disapproval of how Brexit is being handled, their vote to pass legislation that repeals the original decision to join the then Common Market, should pass within the slimmest of majorities. Next comes macroeconomic data. First is inflation which will be released tomorrow. The headline is likely to have reached 2.8%...
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Export business in the South West: Superfast & Streamlined

Export business in the South West: Superfast & Streamlined

Ray Gore reflects on the positive effect of technology on the potential prosperity of once disconnected regions. SW businesses' export opportunities enhanced by streamlined supply chains and Superfast connectivity! I was reflecting on the way that the digital age in which we now live has so changed the way things had to be done when I first started out as a young Procurement Engineer for Rolls Royce back in the late 1970’s, and of the export opportunities now afforded to business by the new communications mediums that are now available. I first began my career when there were no mobile phones, desktop computers or even fax machines. Computers were the size of a small house, landline telephones were the only direct means of communication (if the GPO ever got around to connecting you up) and we had only the telex machine, primitive photocopiers and a hideous piece of equipment called the Roneo Banda machine by which documents could be reproduced. This meant that...
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North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Just when we thought Brexit would be the dominant discussion topic around the dinner table at International Trade gatherings, a much larger beast is on the loose. North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) What is Nafta? started in 1994, it is designed to lower tariffs for most traded goods and services between USA, Canada and Mexico it established rules covering food safety, intellectual property rights and dispute settlements. Since the deal was signed, trade between the three countries has more than tripled. Political ties between the three countries have also strengthened.  In the upcoming negotiations there is a number of specific areas which will be discussed. What is at stake as Nafta talks begin? President Trump has called this free trade agreement a "jobs killer" and a "disaster", and pledged to repeal it. However, in April, he pulled back and agreed to discuss "modernising" the “Agreement”. Talks between the three countries about overhauling the pact start in Washington on 16/08/2017. Mr Trump blames...
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Hard Brexit? Sell Sterling!

Hard Brexit? Sell Sterling!

Davis and Fox; Brexit Hawks If anyone in the U.K. didn’t believe that Brexit was going to happen, they should have had their eyes very firmly opened on 20th July. The first joint Press Conference given by the major Protagonists, Michel Barnier and David Davis since negotiations began in earnest brought clarity to the task that lies ahead. Barnier finds it very difficult to hide his frustration at what he sees as the intransigence of the U.K.’s bargaining position. In a very European/EU/Brussels way, he clearly feels that the U.K. is arguing over points of law such as who protects the rights of the EU citizens remaining in the U.K. post-Brexit. Davis, on the other hand is displaying a very 21st century British approach like a Blair/Farage caricature. He seems to either not be listening when Barnier speaks or not taking the whole thing particularly seriously. It has now been revealed that such meetings will take place for four days a month. That leaves...
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Central Banks and Inflation; A difficult relationship

Central Banks and Inflation; A difficult relationship

What else matters? Inflation, if you want to know how serious it is; ask a Zimbabwean! The U.S. released inflation data for June on Friday and whether it is the brilliant job being done by the FOMC in raising interest rates, “global factors” a weak housing market or some other reason, there is no question that inflation is barely a factor in the U.S. economy. Consumer prices rose by 1.6% in June falling from 1.9% in May. The average of the data over the past year is 1.88%. It is true that around the turn of the year, inflation was consistently above the 2% target set by the Administration. The average for 2017 has been 2.21% so purely on that measure a proactive Fed has acted wisely. The rest of the G7 Central Banks have their own inflation concerns but they vary wildly. In Japan, on the one hand, inflation has averaged 0.34% so far in 2017. Lack of inflation has been the...
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MPC Facing Critical Vote

MPC Facing Critical Vote

Damned if they do, Damned if they don’t... There are three weeks until the next MPC meeting in the U.K. but traders will already have the date circled in red on their calendars. A one-month break in meetings should have given MPC members more time to come to a considered judgement but conflicting requirements and even more conflicting data have led to a situation where previous votes and announcements of voting intentions will count for nothing! Take a look at the MPC’s mandate. The Bank’s monetary policy objective is to deliver price stability, low inflation and, subject to that, to support the Government’s economic objectives including those for growth and employment. Price stability is defined by the Government’s inflation target of 2%. So, it’s clear then we can expect a hike on August 3rd. Or can we? Governor facing a credibility issue. Governor Carney has flip-flopped about a rate hike. A couple of weeks ago in the Mansion House Speech, he said that now is not...
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India: Historic Trade Capital to Future Economic Hub

India: Historic Trade Capital to Future Economic Hub

With Brexit topping the headlines and the prospect of a need to find new export partners looming, one answer is to look to our historic colonial relationships. You might be surprised to discover how much we have in common with India after all these years... By Tony Parry Your scribe is a little bemused that China has drawn a lot of favourable economic and business sentiment vis-à-vis India over the past two decades or so. A bit odd really. About 250 million Indians speak English as an alternate or second language; Indian commercial law closely follows English law, brands such as Leyland, Typhoo, Royal Enfield are still huge in India, and they play a mean brand of cricket. You will feel right at home there. So, I’ll try over the coming period to entice you to do business with India. As a starter for ten, can I encourage you to get hold of a book edited by entrepreneur and communications strategist Manoj Ladwa, and...
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Importing from China?  …Quality or just Quantity?

Importing from China? …Quality or just Quantity?

 According to the WTO (World Trade Organisation), which China became a member of in 2001, China is now not only- The largest manufacturing economy in the world The largest exporter of goods in the world The largest economy by GDP (PPP) in the world From 1978 up until 2013 China was the world’s fastest growing economy at an average rate of almost 10%. They now also have the capability to not only produce high volumes of all types of goods but they also have the expertise to produce them to very high standards of quality. This was not always the case: Brief history: If you have seen as many Christmases as I have, you will be aware of the words ‘Made in China’. In the early 1970’s these words were often the butt of many jokes in relation to mass produced rubbish, especially at Christmas time, when you pulled the cracker what came out was something like this:  So, China became known as the...
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Heavyweight line-up of speakers for South West World Trade Summit

Heavyweight line-up of speakers for South West World Trade Summit

Following the success of the Institute of Export & International Trade’s (IOE&IT) South West World Trade Summit last year, we will be hosting a second event on July 6th in partnership with the Institute for Social, Policy and Enterprise Research (iSPER) at Plymouth University. Aimed at businesses in the South West who are working in, or have an interest in international trade, the ‘Blueprint for Global Britain’ will examine the issues and opportunities in accessing new markets and the debate will help shape the future of global commerce. The summit, which is sponsored by local law firm Bond Dickinson and export consultancy Middleton Jones, starts with registration and coffee at 9.00am at the University of Plymouth Portland Square building. The morning session’s focus is ‘Brexit and International Trade’. After lunch, the vibrant conference will turn its attention to ‘Enabling the South West International Trade Performance’. We are delighted to announce that the keynote speaker will be the Institute’s new president, Lord Green of...
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Restricted Party List Update:

Restricted Party List Update:

European Union 1: There has been an update to EU – List of Banned Airlines, adding 4, modifying 6 and deleting 19 RPL records. Authority: European Commission Mobility & Transport 2: There has been an update to Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives, deleting 1 RPL record Authority: The European Police Office   UK 1: There has been an update to UK Financial Conduct Authority – Prohibited Companies and Individuals, adding 12 RPL records. Authority: Financial Conduct Authority 2: There has been an update to UK Financial Services Authority – Prohibited individuals, adding 3 RPL records. Authority: Financial Services Authority 3: There has been a update to HM Treasury Consolidation List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK, adding 1 RPL; record. Authority: HM Treasury 4: There has been an update to UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) - SFO Actions, adding 1 RPL record Authority: (SFO)  ...
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Landed Cost Update:

Landed Cost Update:

1:There has been an update to EU Customs Tariff. This update adds certain HS Numbers and includes the descriptions of the new HS numbers in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Italian , Portuguese and Swedish. The following HTS chapters are affected: 07 & 08. 2: There has been an update to EU Customs Tariff. This update includes new and deleted HS numbers, and new, deleted and changed import duties and preferential duties. The following chapters are affected: 07 & 08. Authority: European Commission, Directorate General (Department) Taxation & Customs Union (TAXUD)...
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EU – Global Trade Agreements summary Q1 2017

EU – Global Trade Agreements summary Q1 2017

The EU is continuing to work successfully on trade deals and free trade agreements (FTAs) with global markets and it's worth keeping abreast of for UK PLC. In view of upcoming opportunities in the ASEAN area, it's business as usual for U.K. PLC for next 2 years at least. So if companies want to take advantage of any FTA,S they will they will need AE... The following information is taken in summary from the THE FIFTEENTH AEM-EU TRADE COMMISSIONER CONSULTATIONS 10 March 2017, Manila, the Philippines JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT: EU continues to pursue FTAs in Asia Pacific The European Union has continued to move forward with free trade talks with many countries in the Asia Pacific Region. EU – ASEAN revive plans for FTA At the 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and EU trade commissioner meeting in Philippines, the EU and ASEAN have agreed to revive plans for an FTA and resume previously stalled FTA talks. EU and senior ASEAN officials have established a framework to restart talks. However, there...
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Partnership with Astra Recruitment

Partnership with Astra Recruitment

Middleton Jones is pleased to announce a new working partnership with Astra Recruitment. Providing a vital connection to the talent both in the South West and worldwide, the arrangement will also offer the benefit of international expertise to Astra Recruitment’s clients. Read more on our International Export Recruitment Partnership page HERE Despite the huge cloud of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, most British manufacturers and service providers are aware that they will need to invest in their export activities over the next two years, whether this is in order to maintain business levels or to achieve growth plans. Increased demand on resources and expertise in documentation, compliance, legal, shipping, sales, communications and market evaluation is going to rise, so make sure you have access to the best professionals. Astra Recruitment in partnership with Middleton Jones can find the right option for you, with access to; partnerships with overseas trade specialists, direct employment, specialist consultants and much more... For international recruitment expertise in the South West, get in...
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Qatar and 2022 World Cup: Get the ball rolling…

Qatar and 2022 World Cup: Get the ball rolling…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you will probably know by now that the Middle-East’s very first FIFA World Cup tournament will be hosted by the Gulf state of Qatar in 2022; just five short years from today. Now I’m going out on a limb by assuming that between Trump, Kim Jong-un and the Kardashians, we will actually make it to 2022, so in that spirit of unbridled optimism, let’s explore some of the opportunities that this world-class event presents for British companies, large and small. Firstly, a little about Qatar. Geographically the State of Qatar sits on the Qatar Peninsula on the north-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula and sticks out proudly into the Persian Gulf, or Arabian Gulf as it’s known in the Arab world (remember this if ever you visit). Its only land border is with Saudi Arabia in the south. In terms of land mass, Qatar is not much larger than...
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EU: Conflict Minerals agreement reached but exemptions are added

EU: Conflict Minerals agreement reached but exemptions are added

The European Union has taken a positive, step towards cleaning up Europe’s trade in minerals. The new agreement on so-called ‘conflict minerals’; minerals that are mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These minerals are known as the 3 T’s Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten & Gold. Unfortunately other valuable resources like diamonds and other precious stones won’t be checked. The new law only requires those companies importing raw minerals into the EU to carry out checks on their supply chains to see if they are funding armed groups or human rights abuses, meaning companies that bring the very same minerals into the EU as part of components and products, like mobile phones or cars, are let entirely off the hook. The proposal is a welcome step forward, the regulations will send a strong message to a limited range of companies, and it will trust many more companies to self-regulate. It is now up...
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Impressions, Expectations & Relationships

Impressions, Expectations & Relationships

WE are all aware of the acronyms of B2B or B2C as defining our business and marketing strategies.  They are important to identify your target customer, the way in which you communicate your brand and your offering. To define what sort of business we are – to ourselves and to others.  They define the target market and the route to that market.  But this is only half the story – the other acronym worthy of consideration is H2H (Human to Human) or P2P (Person to Person). Cultivating strong relationships can be the difference between success and failure. My business certainly focuses on human to human or in another way, people to people. Much of marketing is conducted in an impersonal way – digital and traditional methods have relied on brand recognition to drive customer acquisition, in succeeding without talking or meeting the end customer. In effect a pure B2 or B2C experience. There is no doubt this works for many, just as many...
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5 tips for success in 2017: Year of the exporter?

5 tips for success in 2017: Year of the exporter?

Where will your business take you in 2017? Success and beyond, one would hope, but in these uncertain times, strong preparation and planning will be the key to achieving your potential. Strengthening and opening export channels will be imperative for many companies. Supply Chain Associate, Diane Thyer presents 5 important points to keep sight of in the coming year... 2017 is now upon us and the Christmas break, where reality was suspended in a Disney induced fog for the best part of week, is now well and truly over. This year is likely to prove just as challenging as 2016 with BREXIT and President Elect Trump making themselves felt; although in the case of the President Elect this is mostly on Twitter. However, in the words of Barack Obama on that historic US election night, ‘no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.’ With that steadying note we must act less like rabbits caught in the headlights and more like...
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The Middle East & North Africa in 2017: Business as usual?

The Middle East & North Africa in 2017: Business as usual?

The Middle East & North Africa in 2017: Business as usual? Phil Broek, MENA Associate at Middleton Jones examines the outlook for UK trade relations in the forthcoming new year... To say that 2016 has been quite a year feels like a massive understatement; Terror attacks in Brussels, IS on the rampage, Syria in flames, refugee crisis, Brexit, falling Pound, Trump…I could go on but its nearly Christmas and I don’t want to add to your seasonal indigestion further. Besides which, being fearful of the future doesn’t really help does it? Not unless your business is making nuclear bomb shelters or anti-depressants. However, being forewarned is being forearmed as the saying goes, so I thought it may be helpful to look at how some of the key events of 2016 may shape the Middle-Eastern business environment for British companies in 2017 and beyond. Let’s start with Brexit – that dreadful term that sounds more like an on-the-go breakfast snack-bar than one of the...
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Roadmapping for success – approaching new markets

Roadmapping for success – approaching new markets

What is the right way to approach new markets and how does approaching an international market differ from a domestic approach? What needs to be considered? How do you make the optimal choice? We look at the advantages of Roadmapping your export activities to maximise potential. Separating what we know and defining what we don’t know is essential.  The aim of your bespoke Roadmap should be to achieve increased market share.  By defining the stages, deliverables can be measured, considered and controlled. The map will define what the criteria for success are, what the budget is and what timelines are to be followed. The structure of both desk and primary research is the same as for any new market with the added ‘colour’ of international trading requisites and culture.  Using a Roadmap template can help to guide a company to seek the information needed to launch a successful campaign in a new market.  Creating a template that your company can design and...
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Commonwealth and Beyond – IOE Global Summit

Commonwealth and Beyond – IOE Global Summit

A beautiful autumnal day in October, the Castle Hotel in Taunton was certainly looking its best.  The venue for the first Institute of Export Global Summit in the South West 'The Commonwealth and Beyond' was perfect.  The South West has a wide range of industries that can be exported from financial services to agritec, advanced engineering to creative design, marine to aviation - representing the wealth of our region. The Commonwealth and Beyond, the theme of the event and representatives from companies and organisations both far and wide came to hear of the opportunities for British goods in the fifty-three countries that are members of the Commonwealth, in Russia and in China.  They heard how Brexit may affect their European contracts and/or relationships and how technological advances will affect change for exporters. The line-up of expert speakers gave the audience valuable information on overseas opportunities for local businesses as well as routes to market through DIT and local providers. Read the IOE article about...
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Brexit advice from Middleton Jones in Plymouth Herald

Brexit advice from Middleton Jones in Plymouth Herald

An article In the online edition of the Plymouth Herald this week features an interview with Linda Middleton-Jones. The story discusses the benefits of investing in export relations ahead of Brexit and some of the possible outcomes from negotiations with Europe. In the article entitled Expert tells Plymouth firms how to avoid a Brexit disaster, Linda is quoted encouraging companies to reinforce their relationships with overseas businesses and make contact before Article 50 is triggered. "It's about keeping customers and striving for that trade to continue with Europe" The benefits of strengthening ties and making good contacts with our European counterparts are clearly going to be the focus of any company that wishes to prepare for successful business from 2017 onwards. This is even more important in the South West, where a large proportion of regional revenue and employment is in manufacturing.   "We sell to Europe and will in future export to Europe" By preparing now, UK businesses can ensure they are best-placed to emerge...
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Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake

Can International trade continue as we know it? Are we really living in an age of uncertainty? What will change, what will remain the same, and where are the opportunities? Recently I was asked to review the legal framework surrounding international trade.  Reminiscent of many years spent studying UK, European, International and Spanish law there was a comfort to the familiar phrases, jurisdictions and structures.  True there have been a few changes – mainly in common law, in a few statutes like the Bribery Act, in the development of our relationship with the EU but, in truth, the framework of international law is familiar, soothing and constant. It allows us to send goods & services to far flung corners of our world.  Trade relationships have developed meaning that our exports attract tariffs or incur VAT when we sell to Europe. We hold a most favoured nation status with the World Trade Organisation meaning that we both provide and receive preferential tariff rates. ...
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Customer Myopia

Customer Myopia

At a recent networking event the audience of consultants and small business owners were asked about who was their customer? There was a mixed response to the question with people mainly identifying those people that bought their products of services. Some of those present then went on to say why they had customers and what their value proposition was to their customers. There is a huge field of information on ‘voice of the customer’ for supply chain optimisation, on extending services to the buyer/seller relationships by adding layers of value. The 21 Customer Burdens (of Uncertainty) features on building trust with your customer whilst another approach advocates that you ‘put yourself in their shoes’: Click HERE to view a great article  by Marketing Donut A whole science on defining what you provide, what you should offer and the best way to achieve new customers whilst retaining established buying relationships. But for me the value that companies offer to customers is only one strand of a...
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Nuggets of Information – bringing it together

Nuggets of Information – bringing it together

One of the great challenges in accessing new markets is getting information on which to base your decision making.  Too often businesses fail because they hadn’t appreciated either the regulatory regime or the business culture in the target market. It is true that some companies make a success in spite of their ineptitude, same as people really but a little foresight and preparation really can make the difference between success and failure.  For me it is those nuggets of information that really bring a potential project to life. For example, knowing that entry to a new market is best done through an agent or a distributor; whether you have to build relationships with central and local authorities , just how far a country is with their technological development is valuable information.  Your export strategy should be based on reputable sourced information and I personally recommend the A5 business guides produced free by the Institute of Export About the Guides IOE together with IMA produce the internationally-recognised...
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Relationship building, post Brexit

Relationship building, post Brexit

Thomas Jefferson said “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none”. How do we apply this to the impending Brexit issues? Apposite for these challenging and uncertain times post the Brexit referendum. So what should UK traders be doing right now? I think we reinforce our current relationships and broker new ones. Our brave new world will be different but what I have learnt is that we do business with people we know and like. If you have good relationship with a client, nurture them. If you are looking wider than current markets then use this time to find new buyers and forge new relationships....
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The divide – campaigning and debate…

The divide – campaigning and debate…

As the debate and campaigning surrounding Brexit gets exceedingly nasty over which statistic/fact or forecast is right or wrong, I have been thinking about the cost to UK from the schism’s that are appearing between party members. Until now we generally saw a great respect by party members for each other’s contribution to the economy and social wellbeing of our country.  Yet what we are seeing is a divide in opinions through this debate that will have a profound effect on the future of this country, whatever the result of the poll. There are countless examples of peoples living in unity and then being torn apart by strong beliefs, a continuing theme of present day conflicts.  We in the UK though have always prided ourselves on our pragmatism, our ‘Englishness’ and our rule of law - a solidity broken only by the occasional scandal or emotive social issues. So how will the scars of strongly opposing views affect our future governance?  I do...
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The known and the not-so known

The known and the not-so known

As the Brexit campaign gather momentum there are still calls for more facts.  Of course the difficulty is the fact that if UK stays in it will be business as usual whereas if we vote to leave any forecast of changes is of course just that – a forecast. We can make educated guesses and listen to the views of respected organisations but in the end we are in a potential situation that makes the future uncertain, hence only forecasts on our future with Europe can be given, not the facts that everyone is calling for. This reminds me of the quote by Rumsfeld: ... there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is...
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