This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

South America

 South America could provide substantial opportunities for small business owners in the UK in the wake of Brexit, with several Latin American countries expressing an interest in striking free trade deals.

This comes as the latest figures from the Federation of Small Businesses revealed that the number of British small businesses exporting to South America has almost doubled in the last five years. In 2016, 19 per cent of SMEs said they exported to South America, compared to 11 per cent in 2011.

This increase in trade comes despite a slowdown in growth in the region, primarily due to a period of political uncertainty and recession in Brazil. Against this, Brazil topped the export destinations, with 13 per cent of British small businesses reporting trade there, Chile 8 per cent, Argentina 7 per cent, and Colombia 6 per cent.

An additional study conducted by insurance group RSA in February this year found that almost 60 per cent of small business owners consider South America their most important export market opportunity. Indeed, forty UK companies won contracts worth in excess of £150m to supply goods and services for this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses national chairman said: “Small firms clearly have a growing appetite for trade with South America. We know the number of small businesses exporting to the continent has almost doubled in the past five years. This is particularly promising in light of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

“We encourage small companies to consider all exporting options, near and further afield, to maximise the benefits of selling overseas.”

For more information about exporting to South America download our FREE ‘Doing Business’ Guides:


Source: FSB Exports Summary 2016 - Sample size based on 518 small firms that currently export who responded to the FSB survey