A Lichfield automotive company is spearheading a new drive to increase British trade links with Asia.
Gary Brereton, global sales manager of Charter Automotive (formerly Valve Train Components), which supplies engine and gearbox components, was at a seminar in Birmingham to discuss his company’s experiences in the region.
The event at the ICC was organised by the Asia Task Force of export promoter UK Trade & Investment.
Delegates from about 200 West Midland companies attend the seminar at which the keynote speaker was business minister Lord Mandelson.
He will be meeting senior business leaders and UK Trade & Investment experts to discuss his company’s success in these markets and opportunities in Asia for other West Midlands firms.
Mr Brereton said: “I’d definitely encourage any company interested in developing business in Asia, whether or not they’ve exported to this market previously, to take advantage of this opportunity.
“We first visited Asia in 2003. Since that time, and with the continuing support of UK Trade & Investment, we have developed new business in a number of markets across the continent.
“We are exporting to China, India, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan, and based on the growing demand, we have recently established a warehouse and distribution facility west of Shanghai to service many of our customers across Asia.
“Our customers now include many of the global OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] such as VW, GM and Ford, as well as local independent manufacturers in China and India.
“Like many automotive suppliers, Charter Automotive did experience a slowdown in demand last year, but in Asia, particularly China and India, new business has increased through 2009 and includes both engine and gearbox components.”
Charter Automotive currently exports 97 per cent of its £3 million annual turnover to more than 25 countries. Exports to Asia are expected to account for over 25 per cent of its global sales by 2013.
Lord Mandelson told the conference Asian countries such as India and China were driving the recovery in the global economy and it was important for British companies of all sizes to be represented in the region.
He cited a study that estimated the high-spending middle class consumers in emerging countries will grow to 900 million people in the next ten years.