The key out-take from the BHETA / Gardenex / PetQuip Future for International Trade Conference which took place on March 17th, was that while export was likely to outperform the home market in the coming year, it was vital for both importers and exporters to ensure they were not dependent on any one territory for either sales or supply chain.
Speakers, who included UK government insiders, successful companies exporting from the UK currently, market analysts, legal, financial and compliance advisors, concurred in advising both current and novice UK exporters on both big picture opportunities and perils and the detail of how to proceed successfully in the current environment.
The key points were:
The continued growth opportunity in home and garden improvement, thanks to macro-factors such as home-based work and play, privacy, security and wellbeing
The likelihood that well-managed export would prove more buoyant than the home market in 2022/23, owing to the squeeze on disposable income in the UK
The crucial need to become less dependent on any one source, supply chain or geographic market as 'economic warfare' (ie sanctions and cessation of trade) becomes a reality across the world and not just in relation to the current Ukraine-crisis.
The conference, which was open to all UK suppliers, also heard from its keynote speaker, Shelley Boyle, Head of Business Development at online retailer, ManoMano. Shelley presented a fascinating and practical illustration of how ManoMano could offer a clean and simple way to 'export' into numbers of European territories while avoiding the administrative implications of BREXIT.
Other speakers at the conference included UK government lobbyist, John Arnold, who outlined the Government's current views on international trade opportunities and threats, compliance expert Tim Hiscock from Strong & Herd, Rathbone's Olivia Merrick with an insightful worldwide economic forecast, international legal expert Andy Hood from Fieldfisher and CP Euromonitor International's Nick Stene confirming the sector opportunities across the globe.
Attendees also heard from established exporters, Croydex, Spear & Jackson, Monument Tools, Grow Sow Simple and Chickenguard, all of whom were able to advise on the practical details of how they were all succeeding in export and all from different perspectives and levels of experience.
Will Jones, Chief Operating Officer of BHETA commented: "What this very successful conference demonstrated was that with informed good practice, export opportunities are very real in the home, garden and pet sectors. It also showed that while the challenges of BREXIT remain, there other hurdles being presented by the pandemic and by military and economic warfare that should be addressed urgently. These hurdles are surmountable but planning for a different world should start immediately for any UK company reliant on import, export or both. A proactive approach now can ensure that the undoubted opportunities can be realised going forward."
Amanda Sizer Barrett, Director General of Gardenex and PetQuip added, "It was great to be partnering with BHETA again to deliver yet another top-level export conference, thanks to the quality of the agenda and the insights, inspiration and practical advice that the speakers were able to share."
Will Jones agreed: "This was key occasion for all companies in our sectors who are interested in maximising their export opportunities. It was equally informative for any company in the sector which imports products or components, whether or not they export as well."