WORLD NEWS TOMORROW | WNT NEWS : A study of small and medium-sized enterprises commissioned by invoice finance specialist Bibby Financial Services found that around one in seven firms (14%) are too concerned about the instability in European markets even to consider doing business internationally, whether within the eurozone or further afield.

Nearly one third of the firms surveyed (31%), also cited the crisis in the eurozone, and the resulting market instability and impact on exports, as having the biggest negative impact on the day-to-day performance of their business.

However, one is six business owners and managers from East Anglia (17%) said that it was financial and cultural barriers, together with costs and export regulations, which were preventing them from trading in foreign markets,

UK trade figures show a net import from Europe, with the gap between imports and exports growing by 86% cent in the past year. The UK’s EU exports decreased to £11.4 billion in April, a drop of over 20% from March – unusually high for the seasonal export dip between March and April.

Bibby spokeswoman Sharon Wiltshire said: “Trade to EU member states is clearly being affected by the European debt crisis, but to find that this issue is preventing East Anglian businesses from any involvement in overseas trade is a huge concern.

“Identifying opportunities for growth in new markets is vital to the longevity of any business and it is important that the effect of current turmoil in Europe on the day-to-day performance of UK firms is kept to a minimum.

“Equally, business owners and managers in this region should not overlook a pool of potential international customers because of fears associated with the financial, cultural or legal implications, as there is help and support available to overcome such barriers.”

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