The ability to sell to the rest of the world is vital to the economic success of the UK. It is also essential for organisations particularly as they get larger. The UK's biggest exported products are petroleum, cars and telecom equipment. It is not just products that are sold from the UK, but also services. Banking, shipping services, insurance and tourism are also big earners for UK businesses. International trade is therefore very important for the economic well being of the UK.
One of the main problems with trading within a global environment is uncertainty. Trading with organisations outside the UK raises a number of potential problems. For example organisations will want guarantees that they will be paid, they will want to know how quickly they will be paid, there may be concern that goods will get to customers on time, there may be concerns about the quality of goods and services. In a globally competitive environment there are simply more uncertainties. This is mainly because the organisation that is being traded with is thousands of miles away.
The UK government Is well aware of these doubts, but is keen to reduce such fears so that more organisations can trade internationally and therefore boost the wealth of the country. The Department of Trade and Industry helps organisations who want to trade and invest overseas. To do this they have to set up an organisation called UK trade and investment.
UK trade and investment help organisations to develop their export capabilities. They do this by providing a range of expert advice as well as data that can be relied upon. For example UK trade and investment companies have local international trade advisors who will work with organisations wanting to trade overseas. These advisors will help the exporter to understand some of the linguistic and cultural issues that arise from trading overseas and offer a range of tools that can be used to help those wanting to export. For example overseas staff look for business opportunities for UK businesses. They also liaise with the main international funding agencies and provide a host of information about new markets from specialists around the world.
European Union The European Union is a political and economic community of twenty-seven member states with supernational and intergovernmental features, primarily located in Europe. It traces its origins to the European Economic Community formed in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome between six European countries. Since then the EU has grown in size through the accession of new member states and has increased its powers by the addition of new policy areas to its remit. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty established the current legal framework.
The European Union currently has 27 independent sovereign countries which are collectively known as member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. There are currently three official candidate countries, Croatia, the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. In addition the western Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia are officially recognised as potential candidates.
There are a number of key events and features of the European Union: The single European act. The aim of the single European act was to kick start the flagging progress towards integration by setting and working towards a deadline for the completion of the single European market in 1992. It was also an exercise in tidying up loose ends. It was signed in 1986 by all the member countries and included provisions for some institutional changes, some additional policies and a treaty for European political co-operation. The object of a single market was to remove as many barriers to trade as possible.