Businesses from across Shropshire have met to discuss opportunities for growing their global export markets post-Brexit.
The Marches Growth Hub joined forces with Telford-based firm Global Freight Services Ltd, which has been shipping goods around the globe for more than 20 years, and Barclays to host the Future of International Trade event on March 13.
The free event, which unintentionally coincided with a crucial series of Brexit votes in Parliament, was attended by more than 30 business owners eager to identify new overseas trade opportunities.
Those attending heard from Dan Hunt, a wealth consultant for Barclays, about the current economic climate whilst Norman Rikunenko from the Department for International Trade provided advice to businesses on the latest Government guidance for trading overseas.
Mr Gunter, managing director of Global Freight, talked to firms about what they should be doing to prepare for Brexit, deal or no deal, and highlighted a number of opportunities for expanding their overseas markets.
He said: "Brexit is happening and we need to get on with what we are doing. There are positive and practical steps around registrations and customs procedures which businesses should be taking to prepare for departure.
"They should be looking at classification codes and trade tariffs and talking to experts if they are unsure of anything.
"It is also a good time for businesses to start looking outside of the EU and grow their markets on a more global scale.
"Our advice is for companies to think about ‘third countries’ – those countries located outside of the EU and to harness new supply chains. There are some fantastic opportunities out there.
"What we must not do, despite all the uncertainty, is stop trading altogether as this will be devastating for the economy."
Mr Gunter is predicting a short-term Brexit smog but believes businesses are resilient enough to survive and come out the other side as they have done following the financial crisis.
"There is a lot of talk of exporting grinding to a halt but I don’t think this will be the case. It’s in everyone’s interest to keep goods moving around the globe and be prepared."
Those attending the international trade event also heard from Tim Luft, from VR Simulation Systems, on how to go about generating growth internationally.
And, Peter Wilding, Brexit Director at Shropshire law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, urged companies to look at employment contracts and product compliance regulations in preparation for Brexit.
For more information on exporting and expert advice on how to prepare for Brexit visit https://www.global-freight.co.uk/