2012 looks set to be a bleak year for the British economy, but for the UK’s importers and exporters, there are a wealth of opportunities. According to the British PMI survey, the export index level is at its highest now since April, thanks to stronger demand from China, Germany and Eastern Europe.

The government is pledging £95m to help “unlock the UK’s exporting potential”, and the Olympics will bring many overseas business people who could be future customers. The Eurozone crisis is creating opportunities for importers, with prices from suppliers becoming more competitive.

The downturn means companies of all sizes must protect their business, and for importers and exporters this means hedging against currency fluctuations and budgeting for exchange rate changes.

Foreign trade appears costly and risky to many businesses that have not done it before, but failing to trade internationally is also a very big risk as it puts you at the mercy of only one economy - the UK.

Stewart Blake, CEO, Global Reach Partners