Risk fears put export hopes on back burner

FEAR among small firms that they won’t get paid is undermining government efforts to drive an export-led economic recovery.

A third of small firms in a survey said they were confident their products would sell overseas but concerns over non-payment put them off, with a quarter describing it as the biggest risk.

The research, produced for RBS, suggests the eurozone crisis is impairing efforts to raise sales by smaller UK firms into overseas markets.

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Despite the UK seeing declining exports in the second and third quarter of this year, the EU remains the country’s biggest trading partner.

According to the bank’s research, 47 per cent of SMEs claim to see opportunities in Asia and other emerging markets.

However, many believe they lack the expertise to trade successfully in these regions