Why is Adamstown so relevant to future British export opportunities?
It is the capital of a small island that is only two square miles in area and has a population of just fifty people. That remote island group, in the middle of Pacific ocean thousands of miles from its neighbours, is the Pitcairn Islands, a British overseas territory first spotted by British sailors two hundred and fifty five years ago and settled by mutineers from HMS Bounty over two hundred and thirty years ago. So, thanks to the infamous mutiny, Britain has a Pacific territory.
Notwithstanding the wondrous logic of this basis of qualification, the UK is currently still negotiating for accession to the CPTPP. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is a major trading opportunity. There are currently eleven signatories who have combined economies representing 13.4% of global gross domestic product at approximately £10 trillion making it one of the world’s largest free trade areas (by GDP).
Singapore is Chair for 2022 and the other members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam. The UK already has trade agreements with seven of the members, but joining the CPTPP would expand on those agreements and take trading opportunities much further, increasing the opportunity for tariff free trade and services across this dynamic region. This would be particularly valuable in relation to services where the UK is already the world’s second largest exporter. In addition, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea are all potential applicants, which would add considerably to the overall benefits for all the members.
Following Brexit, UK Government policy is targeting trade agreements in high growth regions, for instance Asia and the Pacific Rim. With these areas being forecast to be amongst the highest growth areas in the world, the CPTPP is a valuable opportunity to help meet the UK’s growth aspirations.
So why am I mentioning this munificent potential bounty? How is it relevant to businesses here?
The CPTPP is a great example of why businesses should give serious consideration to exporting into the region. There would be tariff free trade across the vast majority of product areas and for services. There is a common misconception that it is harder to sell into the Pacific region than, say, to Europe; it may be different but not necessarily more difficult.
Many of the issues in exporting are exactly the same, and there are just as many potential solutions and people to provide advice. One example is that there have been widely reported issues with increases in freight costs, but those have been much worse coming from the Far East to Europe than the other way. If this concerns you then take advice from any good freight company.
Moving products is an essential part of the export process for goods, but early planning ensures no shocks and gives you the opportunity to get your pricing right. You may even find a distributor or customer that is willing to buy ex works. This has numerous advantages, reducing your risk, financing requirements and administrative burden. Obviously, this will not be a problem if you are in services.
Some people providing services don’t realise that they are exporting.
You might be undertaking the work here, providing a service here, but if you are bringing in revenue from overseas then that counts as an export, for instance tourism. Whether you are in goods or services, large or small business, the CPTPP can provide you with a significant opening to expand your market potential.
You have an opportunity now to get ahead of the game by starting your planning and being ready to exploit the undoubted publicity that will be generated by this process. It is a huge potential market-place that we all hope will have Britain close to its Pacific centre.
As with any exporting opportunity, there is plenty of help available from the Department for International Trade, from Chambers of Commerce and from a wide variety of advisors. Don’t risk missing the boat, it’s time to set a course to your exporting successes.
Tony Goodman MBE is a successful exporter and has been doing so through a variety of different businesses. He is currently Marketing Advisor at Forest and Co who specialise in offering guidance on branding, exporting and sales: www.forestandco.com