- Despite optimism, 500 decision-makers at mid-size companies share worries about going international, according to a study from Tipalti.
- More than two-thirds of respondents cite the U.S.-China trade dispute and renegotiation of NAFTA as key concerns. The U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and impact of Brexit are not far behind.
- Many also indicate they aren't ready for the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), saying they either aren't compliant, are concerned about becoming compliant, or are not sure it’s worth the time and money to become compliant.
In its 2017 International Business Indicator report, Wells Fargo noted 81% of respondents said the international component of their business was important and expected to continue growing.
Why the concern? Let’s start with China. Early in July, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products. China immediately responded with similar tariffs on U.S. goods, a significant escalation that can place enormous pressures — and at significant cost — on companies doing business in China. Neither side is backing down, so concern is natural.
Brexit — the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the EU — is slated for March 29, 2019. While talks have been ongoing, there still are business issues that must be resolved before the transition period ends in December 2020.
Four business organizations — The American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, Canada Europe Roundtable for Business, Europe India Chamber of Commerce and Japan Business Council in Europe —urged the British government to solve the Brexit situation immediately. This is no small thing; companies represented by the organizations include Nissan, Boeing, Exxon Mobile, Dell, Coca-Cola and FedEx.
In a statement prior to the June 28-29 European Council Summit, the groups said, "International businesses who are heavily invested in both the EU and the UK are calling for urgent progress on the key outstanding issues remaining in the talks. Resolving as many of the remaining concerns as possible is becoming more urgent by the day — with the clock ticking towards the October deadline for a final withdrawal agreement."