Global trading presents rich opportunities

Neil Kuschel's guide to international expansion for small businesses

With favourable exchange rates and the maintenance of the 0.5 per cent interest rate, more UK businesses are considering international trade as a means of expanding their business.

If you are thinking of trading overseas, the first step must always be to research which international markets you wish to enter. There are a number of territories that you probably have not previously considered. In the near future, our world trade map will be very different and economists argue that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets could become larger than the world’s current six most developed countries in less than 40 years. Here are some insights into trading with these markets.


Although internet penetration in Brazil is about 40 per cent of the population, users have placed Brazil in the top three countries that spend the most amount of time online, meaning that an e-commerce entry might be the most strategic. Consumer purchasing power in Brazil is increasing and the middle class now represents more than 50 per cent of the 185 million Brazilian population, meaning that there are significant opportunities for businesses looking to target that market.


Russian audiences have a significant appetite for international brands, particularly in the luxury sector, presenting opportunities for retail businesses looking to import. The Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) notes that Russia is open to foreign trade in spite of strict legislation and tariff policies, and it is among the 20 largest importers in the world.


Roughly a third of the size of the United States but home to one sixth of the world's population, India is a country that’s young in more ways than one. 40 per cent of India is under 19, meaning that it’s a fruitful place for businesses targeting the youth sector. Reforms over the last decade include increasingly liberal foreign investment and exchange regimes, industrial decontrol, reductions in tariffs and other trade barriers, all of which pave the way for UK importers hoping to target that market.


With a population in excess of 1.3 billion people, China is home to the world’s single largest consumer market, a market that represents approximately 20 per cent of the planet’s population. The country has formally joined the World Trade Organisation and as part of this far-reaching trade liberalisation agreement, China has agreed to lower tariffs and to abolish market impediments.

Once you’ve identified your target markets, you must research them in depth before beginning to trade internationally, including any linguistic and cultural differences which could impact your business relationships. For example, giving and receiving a business card in an Indian meeting using your right hand is a sign of respect.

Also consider shipping, as you should ensure that the right carrier and method is used to distribute your product effectively. Different countries have a myriad of regulations and customs that an experienced third party carrier can navigate; for example, it is not permitted to import dental products to Algeria. 

Lastly, your overheads. From interest and exchange rates to the cost of shipping, there are a variety of cost factors that can affect your profit margins. Exporting can be financially demanding; careful planning is required to ensure that working capital is in place at every stage of the cycle.

Once you’ve decided exporting is right for your business, you should consider timings, which should be based on your company’s readiness, for example ensuring that you have sufficient stock to fulfil overseas demand, or the right infrastructure in place to get your product to market.

There are several sources of advice available to those seeking to begin the process. The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) offers a range of services for UK exporters, including the Overseas Market Introduction Service. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) offers export training services, export communications reviews, and support around export documentation. DHL Express offers help and advice to businesses planning on expanding internationally through export services, including information around customs rules and regulations that govern overseas markets.

Neil Kuschel is director of sales at DHL Express. For more information, videos and advice for SMEs, visit


More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?