The FINANCIAL — Global companies are positive about plans for future trade activity with the U.S., according to new research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of American Express.
The research found that two-thirds of survey respondents (66%) anticipate that their company’s trade with the U.S. will increase over the next five years and more than four-in-ten (43%) expect an increase of more than 10%.
The research, entitled Terms of Trade: Understanding Trade Dynamics in the U.S., is a survey of 531 executives at companies worldwide examining global trading relationships, looking at how companies trade, the challenges they face and how they expect international trade with the U.S. to change based on recent trends.
While opportunities for trade abound, international trade is not without difficulties. Companies trading with the U.S. face a number of challenges to navigate. Exchange-rate volatility presents the largest issue for companies, with more than four-in-ten respondents (41%) citing this as a concern. Nearly one-third of respondents cite transport costs and delays, trade-related infrastructure and making payments as their top challenges (32%, each).
The survey catalogued payment-related challenges to international trade, including: currency fluctuation (61%), which caused the greatest challenge, process inefficiencies and limited payment visibility (each, 52%), bank fees (51%), and limited or no terms (50%) and banking hours (50%).
“Optimism about the outlook for global trade presents opportunities for U.S. businesses looking to export internationally,” said Guillermo Brenes, Vice President of Global Currency Solutions at American Express. “The survey shows that a number of the challenges to international trade are within the span of a company’s control, so there are practical ways in which companies can improve upon their own trade experience.”
Quality of U.S. Trade-related Infrastructure Ranks High
Survey respondents gave high marks on the overall quality of trade-related infrastructure in the U.S. Over two-thirds of survey respondents (69%) rate the U.S. infrastructure as “very good” or “excellent,” and only 2% consider it to be “poor.” The trade-related infrastructure companies rely on most includes:
Digital communication technology (42%)
Port facilities (31%)
Road network (26%)
Cold transport and storage facilities (25%)
Rail network (16%)
Air links (13%)
Other specialized transport and storage (7%)