Trade is fundamental to fuel growth in the UK economy

05 November 2018


Karl Trumper is Barclays’ Managing Director of Trade and Working Capital for UK & Ireland. He outlines why trade plays a key role in the UK’s success– and how Barclays is galvanising the business sector and government to find new markets.

I have 28 years’ experience in financial services, with the last 16 years being at Barclays. Since leading the Trade & Working Capital team since 2014 I have seen Barclays grow this exciting part of the business. Now we see trade really taking centre stage globally as we face unique challenges – and equally unique opportunities.

The UK has an important legacy as a trading nation – we have a history of building growth in our economy through trade and exporting. Now, more than ever, exporting can play a critical role in our future prosperity as much as it has in our history. Through export we can realise the potential that exists in untapped global markets as the current changing dynamic in the geopolitical landscape creates new opportunities for UK businesses across the globe.

Trade is fundamental to fuel growth in the UK economy. A successful exporting strategy can bring significant benefits from the development of fresh commercial markets and wealth creation, which in turn drives higher tax revenues for governments, creates jobs and raises living standards.

The Brexit conundrum clearly brings with it much uncertainty and fresh risks for business to manage but also new opportunities

Trade has never been more relevant than today. Every news channel and column inch is absorbed with the impact of Brexit on UK trade, illustrating just how critical a role it plays in the future success of the UK. The Brexit conundrum clearly brings with it much uncertainty and fresh risks for business to manage but also new opportunities, with businesses encouraged to look beyond their current horizons for future trading strategies.

Exporting brings great rewards but it requires significant investment to realise new profit pools overseas. The challenges for clients seeking new markets need to be understood and include:

Identifying and understanding new markets and the right markets for a client’s product suit

  • Having the time and resources to develop local in country relationships and trusted partnerships
  • Ensuring that payment methods exist and managing FX risk
  • Securing additional finance to support new exporting ventures
  • Finding the investment to develop or refine products and propositions for new markets
  • Conducting business across continents
  • Understanding in-country legalities and regulations
  • Language and cultural barriers

Businesses need support to become successful exporters

In light of these challenges, businesses need support to become successful exporters. Barclays has hundreds of years’ experience of supporting trading businesses to grow. Our strong UK legacy of knowledge and experience in trade – coupled with a global team of trade specialists – means that we are perfectly placed to understand the needs of trading clients and offer real support in enabling clients to achieve their international ambitions.

We also partner with external bodies and have commissioned research with The Institute of Policy at King’s College London with an aim to helpfully contribute to policy debates of importance to both clients and government at a time when policy maker bandwidth is limited.

We find ourselves in the midst of uncertain times for the UK. It’s an environment that elevates the profile and importance of trade. We have the collective opportunity to galvanise the UK business sector and government to work together to identify new markets and facilitate new trading opportunities for UK plc. I’m excited to be a part of Barclays’ trade business during such a critical moment in our history.

As new markets emerge, it is critical that we lift our gaze and seize the opportunities which exist for businesses. At Barclays, we are ready and equipped to support our clients every step of the way on their trading journey.

Read the full report (PDF 9MB)