Results from the 15th annual UPS Europe Business Monitor, have found that the UK trails mainland Europe in utilising Asia’s potential. The report found that the UK is lagging behind the rest of Europe when it comes to recognising the considerable economic opportunities offered by the world’s Asian markets. The survey contacted nearly 1500 business leaders from Europe’s top 15,000 companies and found that although “China is clearly seen as Europe’s preferred trading partner”, many respondents believe that there are numerous logistical challenges when trading with Asia. Most notably, problems dealing with bureaucracy and lack of market knowledge and customs regulations.
Richard Currie, public affairs director at UPS UK, said: “Though business confidence in the UK seems to have declined, it is clear that UPS Europe Business Monitor respondents believe the economic position of their individual businesses will be healthier in the next twelve months.” He also went on to say: “It’s extremely worrying that UK-based UPS Europe Business Monitor respondents do not seem to be maximising the huge potential currently offered by the Asian markets, China in particular, as an import/export market, or a production site. Possibly more unsettling is the fact that survey results show that UK business leaders’ perceptions are unlikely to change considerably in the next five to ten years.” He goes on to say that with China set to become the world’s second-largest trading entity by 2020, and economic and industrial pundits predicting China to overtake the USA as the world’s largest economy by 2039, it is becoming clear that UK business leaders need to take Asia seriously and examine how the region can benefit their business.
Some other findings of the report include;
· The UK lags behind Europe in utilising Asia with 31 per cent of UK business leaders not considering Asia to be an important trading or production market for their business.
· 55 per cent of UK business leaders believe the economic position of their company will improve in the next twelve months.
· 48 percent of UK company leaders benchmark their costs against the pound, compared with 22 per cent the Euro and 27 per cent the US Dollar.
· 22 per cent of respondents believe that their company’s position has weakened in the past year, half as much again as in 2004.