International Trade

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UK exporters missing a trick

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New research has revealed the most attractive untapped markets for UK exporters.

Economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland have identified 50 growth markets, based on prosperity, ease of access, debt levels and compatibility with the UK.

These markets may not be traditional export destinations (combined, they made up less than a quarter of all UK goods exported in 2012) yet they offer massive opportunities for British firms.

China comes out on top. Although it is still a relatively poor country, it is expected to chalk up double-digit import growth over the next five years. It also has a sizeable upper middle class – more than 200 million people in 2012.

Korea, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and Taiwan also stand out in the report as missed opportunities for UK plc.

India, on the other hand, isn’t as attractive as many assume due to high tariffs and taxes, low compatibility and a relatively low income.

“It’s clear there are export opportunities which British businesses aren’t fully taking advantage of,” says David Fenton, senior economist at RBS. “While the outlook is currently subdued in key export markets like Europe and the US, success will increasingly rest on less-indebted, faster-growing parts of the world.

“There’s no doubt that emerging markets have entered a more challenging and uneven growth phase. But they will still be the biggest contributor to global growth over the next five years.”

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