New research finds two-thirds of survey respondents (66%) anticipate that their company’s trade with the U.S. will increase over the next five years and more than four-in-ten (43%) expect an increase of more than 10%. The survey shows that a number of the challenges to international trade are within the span of a company’s control, so there are practical ways in which companies can improve upon their own trade experience.
According to new research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of American Express. While opportunities for trade abound, international trade is not without difficulties. Companies trading with the U.S. face a number of challenges to navigate. Exchange-rate volatility presents the largest issue for companies, with more than four-in-ten respondents (41%) citing this as a concern. Nearly one-third of respondents cite transport costs and delays, trade-related infrastructure and making payments as their top challenges (32%, each).
The survey catalogued payment-related challenges to international trade, including: currency fluctuation (61%), which caused the greatest challenge, process inefficiencies and limited payment visibility (each, 52%), bank fees (51%), and limited or no terms (50%) and banking hours (50%).
Survey respondents gave high marks on the overall quality of trade-related infrastructure in the U.S. Over two-thirds of survey respondents (69%) rate the U.S. infrastructure as “very good” or “excellent,” and only 2% consider it to be “poor.” The trade-related infrastructure companies rely on most includes:
• Digital communication technology (42%)
• Port facilities (31%)
• Road network (26%)
• Cold transport and storage facilities (25%)
• Warehousing (26%)
• Rail network (16%)
• Air links (13%)
• Other specialized transport and storage (7%)
The findings are based on an executive survey of 531 companies that trade with the US, conducted by The EIU in March and April 2016, as well as desk research and interviews with experts.
The survey sample is global, spanning Asia-Pacific (49%), Europe (22%), North America (19%) and South America (9%). Nearly half of those surveyed are C-level executives, and another 40% hold senior executive positions (SVP, VP, director, head of business unit, head of department).
The firms in the survey are split almost evenly between those with an annual revenue of US$250m-500m and those with US$500m-1bn in annual revenue. Of the 23 sectors covered, the best-represented are financial services, manufacturing, consumer goods and services, IT and retail.
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