At Cavendish Maine we have been recruiting Export Sales Manager’s for British businesses for decades and were pleased to see recent news reports that the UK is joining the CPTPP, but is it as good as it sounds?
The headline details are pretty exciting. The 11 CPTPP countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) account for a population of 500 million consumers that British exporters will be able to access with 99% tariff-free goods making our products less expensive. The UK is the first non-founding country to join making the combined value of the economies of all members around £11 trillion.
What’s the down-side?
It’s going to take a while to feel the benefit. In 2019 the CPTPP countries accounted for less international sales value than we achieved in Germany. Presently the US is twice as valuable to us as all CPTPP countries combined. There are also some risks attached to two-way trade that could, for example, threaten British farming with cheap agricultural imports.
We spoke to the Export Director of a British garden products manufacturer who said…
“The CPTPP deal will have a few benefits, but we are already working within the four largest markets of the eleven countries in the CPTPP and the trade agreement does nothing that outweighs the loss of trade from being a member of the Europe Union”.
The CPTPP was heralded as “a benefit of Brexit” and showed that we are striking out and making our own global decisions. Most commentators believe the deal is a positive step for the UK, and there are benefits to be celebrated – but they are long term for most exporters. However, there will be some companies who will realise an enormous opportunity here. If your company is finding it increasingly hard to remain price competitive in European markets and you have a product that is Made in Britain, this might be the time to switch focus on the CPTPP countries.
We work with many medium sized British businesses that tell us that their export success depends largely on the people in that team. The knowledge of how to open and build international markets is paramount and this includes knowing how to utilise the Department for International Trade and sector specific bodies such as Gardenex. If you feel that your export sales could be improved by strengthening the talent in your team, please Contact Us to discuss how we can help.