As the UK continues to build international trade deals and investment opportunities, mid-market businesses in Wales confirm that they are confident in the international appeal of British products and services.
In Grant Thornton UK LLP’s latest Business Outlook Tracker* survey, more than three quarters of Welsh business leaders (78%) said that Brand Britain is helpful to UK firms when trading internationally.
This confidence in the nation’s reputation overseas was markedly higher in Wales compared to the national average, which was 66%. This may be explained by the fact that 70% of the region’s business leaders believe Wales has an effective and consistent strategy to attract global investments.
The survey showed that Britain’s ability to host large events with global audiences has helped give the nation a strong brand among international markets. 80% agreed that hosting international events, such as this week’s Eurovision, gives Brand Britain a global boost.
Alongside notable events and regional strategies, domestic politics have inevitably influenced how the UK is viewed in other countries. When questioned about the impact of Brexit, almost three quarters (74%) agreed that it had strengthened Brand Britain and only 2% disagreed.
The positive view of British products and services aligns with the fact that businesses have international growth high on their agenda. In the survey, 94% of respondents in Wales said they would invest either more or the same in international growth over the next six months. This makes international growth the third highest investment priority for Welsh businesses following skills development and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors.
Alistair Wardell, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP and head of its restructuring team in the South of England and Wales, said: “The appeal of Brand Britain has always been strong and it’s great to see that Welsh business leaders recognise it as a strong card they can play to achieve international growth. While not taking place in our region, events like Eurovision really help draw attention to the UK and provide an opportunity to showcase the nation’s capabilities on a global stage.
“In addition to the national branding bonus, there’s a lot of other good reasons to explore overseas opportunities. Britain’s underwhelming economic forecasts means foreign markets look extra appealing, and companies can enjoy support from trade associations, local Chambers of Trade and the government. Looking further forward, developments such as the Windsor framework and potential new trade deals makes exporting even more appealing.
“That’s not to say that international expansion is easy, as it involves a lot of careful planning to navigate customs and trade agreements. It’s important to understand these complexities and to have the right information, structures and support in place. At Grant Thornton, our international network of member firms means we’re well placed to provide local guidance and valuable market insights.”