Exporting to the Nordic Regions – a warm welcome awaits

Fri 21 Nov 2014
Posted by: International Trade News

The Institute of Export London Branch recently hosted an “Exporting to Nordic Regions” event that provided attendees with an in-depth introduction to the mechanisms involved in exporting to the Nordic region – Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The four countries form a region with a GDP capita that is set to increase 80% by 2050. Although they have a combined population that is less than half the size of the UK, they are our sixth most important export market, with the export of goods and services totalling some £24 billion in 2012.

The event was well attended and very well received. The audience listened to a host of excellent speakers discuss the culture, trends, opportunities and challenges that existed for those who wanted to trade in the Nordic region, before learning how rewarding doing business there could be.

Speakers focussed on the cultural differences, business and social etiquette, how businesses could export to the region – both directly and indirectly, what procedures they needed to have in place regarding payments andwhat information they needed to navigate the Scandinavian legal system.

Christina Schiøtt Liaos, Director UKTI Nordic-Baltic, outlined the scope of opportunities that exist for exporters. She focused on some of the many trade areas that the UK currently operates in, including energy, infrastructure, ICT, healthcare, education, consumer goods, arctic, financial products and defence.

Martin Williams of EBS shared a wealth of insights into the Nordic culture and its business etiquette, stressing the honesty, reliability, rationality, directness and politeness demonstrated by the people. He also highlighted their strong sense of social responsibility and their affection for the British.

Claus Andersen of Royds solicitors explained the legal aspects of exporting to the region – from deciding how to export, to getting paid and choosing which jurisdiction to use in legal agreements.

Karl Timmis of DSV spoke of the ease of transporting goods to the Nordics, highlighting how the established infrastructure makes it easier for businesses to transport goods from the UK to the Scandinavian market.

Andy Packham of Direct Link reinforced the Nordic advancements in e-commerce – more than 60% of consumers shop online, with a third of purchasing from abroad. He revealed that clothing, home electronics and books were among the top items purchased – with UK stores securing 49% of these sales. He also highlighted the increasing trend of using mobile phones to make online purchases.

Feedback from the event was extremely positive – attendees not only gained a clear understanding of the business etiquette and operational requirements needed to export to the region, but also had a valuable insight into the culture and perspective of the Nordic people.

What was apparent was that whilst the region may be cold, the prospects and welcome that awaits UK exporters will most definitely be warm.