Kickstart your business expansion this year by implementing some expert advice from Gordon Glenister, director general of the BPMA

Following the announcement to leave the EU in June, the immediate response from the promotional products industry was one of shock. The accompanying halt in business confidence was, however, fairly short lived and proved the resilience of our industry to bounce back.

Lately, though, one of the challenges that many importers and suppliers have faced is currency fluctuations, with the pound at just below $1.22 at the time of writing, down from $1.48 pre-Brexit, and having hit a low of $1.15 during the flash crash on 7 October 2016. One doesn’t know what the outcome of the American election will be, but this will no doubt also have an impact.

Many UK importers held off putting prices up in the autumn, hoping the pound was going to recover, and many did have some surplus stocks to see them through. The BPMA has learnt that the decision to delay is now causing a considerable amount of pain through the supply chain and therefore many will shortly need to increase prices by up to 10%.

The CBI and other institutions have indicated to the government to be cautious of a ‘hard’ Brexit and there are many negative stories about the impact that this could have on the UK economy.

Unravelling all the laws could take a considerable amount of time as many UK laws are enshrined in EU law. I would expect the UK government to ratify in bulk all those that are part and parcel of everyday life and effectively relook at those that as a country we may have questions about.

The Reach directive as well as many labelling requirements are all driven by Brussels. Trying to pick holes in all these laws could take years and one thing we must avoid is creating uncertainty on the world stage. Britain must be seen as a world player in trade and investment.

The EU is unlikely to give us access to the single market without free movement of people, a key issue for many that voted to leave. Most EU countries sell a considerable amount of goods and services to the UK, so it is in their interests to get a good deal. My best guess is that the negotiations, however choppy, will need to involve a unique deal for the UK that is not based on that of Norway or other non-EU members.

If you have any questions or topics that you would like Gordon to address, please email [email protected] with ‘BPMA’ in the subject line.