Small firms put off exporting by legal barriers

Chris Papadopoullos
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LEGAL barriers are putting off smaller firms from entering overseas ma­rkets, new research shows today.

The joint study by KPMG and YouGov surveyed 1100 UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The main barriers to entry to foreign markets cited by SMEs were complex legal regimes, followed closely by not having strong enough networks overseas. Currently, only 17 per cent of UK medium-sized firms generate revenues outside the EU compared with 25 per cent in Germany and 30 per cent in Italy.

Today is the beginning of Export Week where UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) – a government body – will provide advice and support to SMEs on how to enter international markets with 90 events across the UK.

“With… access to UKTI’s armoury of advice, funds and support and the popularity of the British brand, the world is your oyster,” said Dominic Jermey, chief executive of UKTI.

The study found a large regional disparity between firms willing to explore international markets. Although four in five London firms were looking abroad for new growth potential, only half were doing so in the North East.