IOE and IT members' hopes and fears for 2023

Tue 20 Dec 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett

IOE&IT Membership - Hopes and Fears

As the year draws to a close, the Daily Update turns to you, our membership, to get some of your thoughts on how 2023 will turn out.

We asked some of our members what their hopes and fears were for the next year in international trade.

Irina Purcell MiEx, head of logistics & trade compliance, Cambridge Commodities

What are you looking forward to most?

I am looking forward to international trade optimisation using AI.

ChatGPT is already showing promise whilst other things like automation, access to open data sources, and improved customs and trade compliance processes across the entire supply chain network are not luxuries anymore but a foundation for a competitive advantage, or even, survival.

I am excited to see what products are going to be available for companies trading in the EU. It is important to understand the benefits of the smart border solution in conjunction with registration for French VAT in light of the mandatory import VAT regulations.

I’m also keeping an eye on the EU VAT scheme 4200, the GB customs special procedures and the possibility of being involved I n developing freeports and special investment zones next year.

What are your business' hopes for the year ahead?

I hope there’ll be a lot of interesting things happening in the world of customs and trade compliance in 2023. It’d be great if it hits us with less force than last year, but after all, we went through Brexit, COVID and supply chain collapse, so we know we can go through anything.

It’s all part of looking after your people, your colleagues and your teammates, all of whom are coming to work every day to move goods and services across borders, finding new solutions and products. Only knowledgeable professionals can deliver it and avoid costly learning curves.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges in 2023?

About a year ago, we thought it would be about getting ready for economic recovery and hoping that the future is bright. However, we didn’t think that logistics and trade were destined for a tougher challenge than before. 

High inflation, elevated energy costs, raised interest rates and a lack of labour have hit all of us at once. I am afraid that this all might continue to impact us.

Another worry is that we’re going to see constant changes in international trade regulations happening simultaneously across different jurisdiction. This could make trade compliance and export control professionals’ lives difficult.

Sylwia Nowak, student member

What are you looking forward to most?

In 2023, I’m most looking forward to customs digitalisation & trade facilitations that the single trade window will bring once CDS becomes fully operational. I can't stress enough how important a step forward this is to make it easier for UK importers and exporters to trade in the aftermath of Brexit.

What are your business' hopes for the year ahead?

Like a lot of traders, I hope that CDS’ export implementation will go smoothly and be free from any trouble, with everything working correctly – nobody can afford any stoppages at the border. We also hope for new trade facilitations, digitalisation of customs procedures and less bureaucracy

What do you think will be the biggest challenges in 2023?

The biggest challenges in 2023 are just like those in 2022 - delays at the border, either because of strikes, system issues or long queues at entry points. We’re still experiencing the after-effects of Brexit and we will continue to face these consequences until customs digitalisation kicks in, despite having numerous trade agreements signed with other countries.

Chris Gledhill, chief executive officer, PDMS

What are you looking forward to most?

Personally, I am looking forward to continuing to work with the trade sector. I can see that there are significant untapped opportunities for digital innovation to automate the processes that facilitate international trade through better use of data and automation.

I hope to be able to contribute towards the development of the single trade window concept. This represents a significant opportunity for the UK to create an environment for government, the trade sector and technology to all collaborate and maximise the competitive advantage of British business.

For me, the underlying principle is to ensure that the administrative burden and frictions associated with international trade are minimised regardless of the unpredictability of the external regulatory environment.

What are your business' hopes for the year ahead?

As a business, we hope to continue to build upon the work that we have already been involved with in trade automation and engagement with the single trade window concept.

We will continue to work with the industry to identify the most valuable opportunities for tech innovation and automation and develop products and services to meet these needs.

Also, we are looking forward to seeing more emphasis being put on sustainability and traceability in trade. As a technology company, our role is to contribute towards the effective communication of relevant data thus ensuring that this becomes an opportunity rather than just an additional administrative headache.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges in 2023?

Obviously, we are in a period of economic uncertainty, this brings short term challenges but also long-term opportunities.

The challenge we will face is to create the headspace to drive innovation in our organisations which will help to protect long-term competitiveness. Every downturn produces winners as well as losers and we believe that the winners this time around will be those organisations who have the confidence to invest in the productivity of their existing workforce.  

Tajinder Banwait, founder and managing director, Urban Apothecary London

What are you looking forward to most?

We plan to enter new markets and grow Urban Apothecary internationally, so export is our focus. I look forward to developing distributor relationships and presenting our collection to new customers.

We are officially receiving our Queen’s Award for International Trade in February, so our candle factory is buzzing with excitement about that!

What are your business' hopes for the year ahead?

I am hopeful that better times are ahead. I have recently received the good news that our distributor in Ukraine is safe and well. They are now back up and running and reporting that home fragrance sales are increasing due to customers wanting comfort, particularly when so many are not in their own homes.

I’m so pleased for our distributor, especially as they have experienced the most difficult times and still have remarkable resilience and optimism.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges in 2023?

Business has been and will remain tough in 2023. I predict the most significant challenge will be ensuring supply chains are resilient to external shocks. Knowing this in advance means we’ve taken every precaution to minimise risks.

My top three tips are: relationships are key, people work better with people they like, consider your long-term strategy to put in place now what will safeguard you for the future and plan your supply well in advance.