Internationalising Welsh Businesses - Trade, Investment and Export

FSB paper examining how more SMEs in Wales can be supported to trade internationally

FSB’s new paper Internationalising Welsh Businesses: International Trade, Export and Investment looks at how SMEs can be supported to take advantage of international opportunities in order to help Welsh businesses adapt and grow in a post-Brexit and post-Covid landscape.

According to the FSB’s 2016 report on SMEs and UK exports ‘Destination Export’:

  • 40% of exporters are start-up businesses.
  • 76% of export destination decisions are driven by a direct approach from local markets – this suggests there is a gap in coordination and scope for impact through governmental international strategy.
  • The EU single market remains the top trade destination for both UK and Welsh small firms and will likely be for some time to come. Welsh SMEs that do export are four times more likely to export to an EU destination than a destination outside the EU.
  • Around one fifth of FSB’s membership in Wales exports, with around 13.5% of our members importing goods or services. Generally, this is in line with the UK average.

Discussion over Wales’ role in the world comes at an incredibly significant time for businesses across the country as we approach the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period and look ahead to a future trading relationship outside of the European Union.

FSB has argued that Welsh Government should set out a clear ambition to grow the number of exporting Welsh firms and task a dedicated agency with delivering on this.

This agency, which FSB has nominally named International Wales, would work alongside other organisations such as the Development Bank of Wales and Business Wales to be part of a strong business landscape in Wales and provide businesses with the architecture that they need to be able to not just survive, but grow and thrive in the future.