Jersey firms offered new export market opportunities
THERE are more opportunities for Jersey businesses to export products and services, with increased support to access the Indian and American markets, and a chance to take advantage of the changes coming from a post-Brexit UK.
Several small businesses have been selected for an Indian export-acceleration programme following a visit to the Island last year by Y K Sinha, the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Jersey Business arranged for 12 local companies to meet Mr Sinha, and as a result, three of them have been accepted on to the Access India programme, which is run by the High Commission.
Jersey Business is supporting the trio and Alexia McClure, head of operations said with big cultural links to the UK, the Indian market is warm to British products. ‘The aim of the programme is to accelerate the development of those businesses in India,’ she said. ‘It’s giving them access to contacts in India, helping them get to India, talking to them about how to establish a presence in India. So that’s quite an intensive program. We’ve also got six or seven other companies that we’re working with, through the Indian High Commission, to help them look at contacts, get more market information, and during the course of this year, we’re expecting that more of those businesses will go out and visit and we hope will establish either trade links or an actual presence there.’
The opportunities in India for Jersey businesses are across all sectors, including service companies, digital and local Jersey products.
‘What we are trying to do with a company is to understand what their product is, and then try and get some sort of market assessment as to what is the size of the market and is that the best opportunity for them,’ Mrs McClure said. ‘So we would try and do that work with them before they actually started with the time and the expense of going out and visiting.’
India is not the only focus for Jersey companies exporting. In 2018, Jersey Business carried out a survey with its members asking them what markets they are currently exporting to and which ones they want to look to export to. ‘America came out as one of the markets where businesses were exporting already, but also where there was interest,’ said Mrs McClure. ‘It is quite a difficult market to get into. It’s obviously very big. And so we’re tentatively exploring what we think the opportunity is going to be. We know that Jersey Finance is working on the finance opportunity out there, and External Relations are going out there, so if we are developing links with a new export market, then what we want to do is to make sure that our non-finance companies get the same opportunity.’
In addition, Mrs McClure said Jersey businesses should be considering what opportunities there might be with the changing relationship between the UK and Europe.
‘One of the potential changes might be that it becomes more difficult for European companies to get into the UK, or that they decide there are bigger fish to fry somewhere else and they might exit the market; or it might just be that UK companies and UK consumers are looking for more locally based product,’ she said. ‘So, I think the opportunity is not to think that because you haven’t been able to get into the UK before that this is going to continue because the whole dynamic of the UK economy is going to change, and it’s going to change in the short term.
‘Now might be an opportunity for Jersey companies to access the UK in a way that they haven’t done before. Because we’ve still got the customs arrangements with the UK it’s very easy to move product from Jersey into the UK, but it’s going to become more difficult to move product from Europe into the UK.’
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