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Climbing The Ladder

21st January 2020

An export strategy can leave you dangling at the mercy of events, or it can be a ladder that you steadily climb.

Bungee Blunder

Anyone who has spent time in China will be aware of the population’s love of pork. China is both the leading producer and consumer of pig meat in the world, producing 60 million metric tons a year but consuming far more. There are some things Chinese meat lovers won’t tolerate, though. Today a newly-opened theme park in Chongqing has come under fire on social media after a ploy to promote its bungee attraction caused outrage. Employees at the park carried a pig to the top of a 68-metre tower, secured it with a bungee rope then pushed it off. Animal cruelty isn’t a criminal offence in China but it’s hoped that the overwhelmingly negative reaction to this stunt will mark a turning point in their treatment.

Exporting for success

Britain exports 30 tonnes of pork products a month to China, and those sales are worth £600 million a year. To our good fortune the Chinese consumer has a fondness for cuts of meat that we usually leave to one side. Huge amounts of our pork sales to China are made up of ears, trotters and other parts of the “fifth quarter” that are considered unmarketable in this country and many others. You might not be able to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, but more and more British exporters are making a full purse from one.

The language of partnership

Leaving bungee jumping pigs to one side, Britain needs this trade relationship to keep working. Three and a half million people in this country are in food and farming based employment. So for every nine people working here, one of them owes their living to this sector. When your products are in demand and they meet and exceed the quality standards of your target markets, your rewards are within reach. You just need to keep selling persuasively. That means taking the trouble to understand the culture of your audience and communicating with them in language that they will not only understand but warmly embrace. Being diligent enough to monitor the regulatory requirements of each country you trade with and follow them to the letter. A business relationship doesn’t have to be a bungee jump that sends us plummeting and rebounding at the mercy of events. It can be a ladder we climb together. Respecting other people’s languages and cultures gives us a very firm footing.


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