IN TOUCH: Exporters still bullish

Expansion is still byword for exporters attending recent forum in Auckland where the mood was one of cautious optimism despite the challenge of current economic times.
Reflecting findings from the latest DHL survey of exporters, the 35 who attended the event hosted by NZ Trade and Enterprise and ExportNZ were focused on opportunities and how exporters can work together to take advantage of them, according to Ken Stevens, chair of Export NZ.
“We have to remember our relative position – at this stage we are still faring better in New Zealand than many of our trading partners and exporters are seeing opportunities in that environment, including in some cases taking advantage of the vulnerability of the competitors,” he said.
“Our exporters are upbeat and driven to succeed. There was call that we should celebrate the fact that we have business plans three to five years out as sign of confidence that we will still be in business. That’s great sign. I think we can afford to get even more bullish if we are to be quick on the recovery.”
The Auckland forum was the third of seven to be held around New Zealand to provide support, encouragement and some practical networking to share knowledge.
“It can be lonely for exporters in this tough environment,” says Tim Gibson, CEO of NZTE. “We’ve bought companies together because we believe there is value in the sharing of ideas among peers and feedback suggests companies agree with us.”
Main issues and priorities for exporters from the Auckland forum were:
• How to deal with slowing demand, including managing uncertainty, maintaining relationships and managing cash-flow and credit.
• People – access to qualified networks in market and the need to up-skill staff to deal with the new environment.
• Information – access to high quality advice and intelligence.
• Collaborating to compete – the potential and benefits of collaborating including leveraging supply chains and staff, joint access to office and distribution facilities and drawing on other companies’ experience in some markets.

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