Opportunity Africa

8 May 2019

Years of sustained growth and investment are opening up new opportunities for exporters in Eastern and Southern Africa. Tim Hiscock reports on four markets that could be rewarding in the longer term.

Brexit Watch — remember, remember, we leave in November

2 May 2019

Or will we? For the last two years, the one fixed point in an often chaotic negotiating process has been that the UK would leave the Union on 29 March 2019 — a promise made by Prime Minister Theresa May on more than 100 occasions. However, as described in the previous article in this series, it became increasingly apparent in the run-up to that date that there was neither a majority in Parliament for the Prime Minister’s proposed deal nor for leaving the EU with no deal in place. After a hasty meeting between Mrs May and the other 27 European leaders, two more dates then came into play: 22 May (the day before elections to the European Parliament) if the Prime Minister could win approval for her deal and 12 April if she failed and the UK was prepared to leave without an agreement in place.

EU and China strengthen partnership

2 May 2019

The EU and China agreed further to strengthen their strategic partnership at the EU-China Summit on 9 April. Leaders agreed on the direction for EU-China relations in the years to come based on reciprocity. EU President Donald Tusk said: “Negotiations have been difficult but ultimately fruitful”.

Country Profile — Saudi Arabia

17 April 2019

The world’s top oil producer is following a diversification blueprint that opens up massive trade and investment potential to UK companies. Martin Clark reports.

Brexit Watch — if you think you know what’s happening, you haven’t been paying attention

3 April 2019

When this series of articles began more than two years ago, Prime Minister Theresa May had just promised a smooth, orderly Brexit that would lead to a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU while leaving the UK free to strike deals around the world. As the date that she set by which all this would be completed (29 March) passes, the talks on trade with the EU have not even started, the whole negotiating process has become a byword for incompetence and chaos, and the Department for International Trade (DIT) is reduced to announcing that it has completed preparations for trade deals with Zimbabwe, the Palestinian Authority and the Faroe Islands. As two attempts to convince Parliament to back her deal failed, Mrs May was eventually left with no choice but to postpone Brexit past the date she had long promised.

Working with agents and distributors

27 March 2019

It has often been said that the choice of local representative is the single most important decision in exporting success. It’s certainly true that the local representative will be the face of your business and products in their market, so they have a crucial role to play. Tim Hiscock looks at how an exporter should go about finding a representative and how they decide what the correct method of representation is?

Country Profile — South Africa

21 March 2019

After riding a wave of optimism in the 1990s, South Africa is facing a string of very real challenges in 2019. Nonetheless, the country remains key to the long-term success and development of the rest of the continent. Martin Clark reports.

Brexit Watch — if only it were that simples

1 March 2019

Several years after everyone else grew bored with quoting Aleksandr the meerkat, the Prime Minister introduced his catchphrase into Hansard when she told the SNP’s Westminster leader that if he (and others) want to put an end to Brexit uncertainty then all they have to do is to vote for her deal — simples. She was speaking as she yet again faced the House to make a statement about the ongoing negotiations. However, with barely a month left before what the Government in all its contingency legislation calls “exit day”, Mrs May this time had the threat of a revolt by Remain-supporting members of her Cabinet to deal with. Tired of what they see as continuous compliance with the demands of the strongly Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG), several ministers in favour of remaining in the EU had made it clear that they would resign if she persisted in keeping the option of “no deal” on the table.

Trading with Japan

20 February 2019

A new free trade agreement, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), entered into force on 1 February 2019 creating the world’s largest free trade area and, once fully implemented, eliminating customs duties on 97% of goods imported from the EU. It removes significant non-tariff barriers, for example, in the automotive sector it commits Japan to international car standards which will make exporting vehicles to Japan much easier.

HMRC simplifies customs procedures for no-deal Brexit

5 February 2019

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced simplified procedures for businesses importing from the EU, as part of its no-deal Brexit preparations in the event of the UK leaving without a withdrawal agreement on 29 March. Pat Sweet reports.