The post-referendum scaremongering, which suggested that no country would come knocking on the UK’s door to trade with us after the vote, appears to be unfounded – with Australia and Thailand already staking a claim for new deals. Globalisation is here folks, and it’s time to go out into the world embrace it.
Not unexpectedly, the Brexit decision whipped up a dust storm – and in the four weeks since we’ve seen huge political shifts within the government, including having Theresa May now leader of the country. Time will tell whether that was either contrived, or indeed a good decision.
However, a month since the vote and it appears the world is coming to terms with, what I believe was, the right decision to leave the EU – and countries are starting to show their cards in the game of post-Brexit poker.
And, in Australia and Thailand, I see real similarities in the globalisation of my own life and business career. I’ve had strong ties with Australia since 1993, when I first went there backpacking. I was really pleased to see this Commonwealth nation be one of the first in line to gain a trade deal with a post-EU United Kingdom.
Having left the UK for the United Arab Emirates in 1991 to escape the lack of opportunities in Britain, I headed to Australia for ten months after a challenging couple of years in the Middle East. I smile to myself, as Australia helped me re-invigorate my senses and drive and get on the path that has led me to success. Let’s see it happen now for the UK.
And boy did it, I returned to the UAE and two years later had OES, my first foray into business, up and running and significantly successful within just two short years. Almost running in tandem was a small business ensemble in Australia comprising of three sheep farms, a cafe and a food distribution business – as well as an eco glamping venture.
After enjoying all aspects of being an Australian gentleman farmer, it became a little too much to manage as I expanded OES across the globe and I sold the last of my Australian ventures in 2012. Around 2006 I found a newly-acquired vigour for business in the UK, partially due to my strong friendships in the North East of England, my focus came around to larger-scale investment in the UK after a 15-year absence.
It has also been suggested that Thailand is getting in line for a trade deal with the UK as well. Again, this is a country I have a strong affinity with and first went again around the mid 1990s. I have outsourced my social media management, and a significant chunk of graphic design to a Thai-owned business, and yet again, it’s another economy I choose to support, and get an awful lot back from.
Have a look at some of our other Brexit commentary:
- Brexit inspires weird and wonderful trademark requests to Intellectual Property Office
- How Brexit is likely to alter UK employment law
- Four EU business laws that have a dubious future after Brexit
Another immediate effect of the referendum is the drop in exchange rates between sterling and US dollar-linked economies, which has encouraged me to put more investment in my UK businesses. And, with historically low interest rates, which may fall again, commodities from the UK and of course property in the UK starts to look more attractive.
Yes, some things will be more expensive, however, many businesses have an opportunity to focus on the national economy as well as their export business. The UK remains safe and secure, whilst other areas of Europe, both in and out of the EU seemingly have larger struggles than ever before.
It would seem that, despite the contrary reports from the likes of the IMF, tabloid press and the chantings of disgruntled ex-partners, the UK is at the cusp of a period of opportunistic growth.
Even the Americans have now started to chunter about trade deals, stronger relations and so forth. Donald Trump in charge could be a real boon for the UK too – after all he has invested massively in the UK historically, and in the UAE too, and is a savvy businessman. No doubt he and others will view cheap sterling currency as opportune as have I.
The UK made the right decision, so come on, let’s get on with it.
Richard Upshall is executive chairman of OES Oilfield Services Group.
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