This morning, the UK at large has been told its people should learn Mandarin if it ever wants to close the trade deficit between the UK and China. This is exceptionally laudable and something I wholeheartedly agree with – despite having no plans to do so myself. It sounds a bit difficult.

However, I wonder if that’s how a business would manage its export process to another country? Let’s say, for argument’s sake, one exports an engineering training service. Would you encourage all of your existing trainers to learn the language of the country into which you wish to export, or would you instead hire some native speakers who are also able to work in your industry?

Clearly, a country operates on a much larger level than a company. For me, this would normally render my previous comparison null and void. However, as you may have read in the weekend’s media we are currently actively discouraging immigration from countries with which we also operate a trade deficit, such as Romania and Bulgaria.

To me, this seems to represent something of a contradiction.

Of course, the deficit with Romania is decreasing. Trade statistics for 2011, show that year-on-year the value of UK exports of goods to Romania have increased by 21% and imports from Romania increased by 3%. However, the balance of trade is still in Romania’s favour.

Perhaps the UK Government only wants us to trade with the fashionable BRIC countries?

The Technical PR bit

One of Stone Junction’s clients, European Automation, has a brilliant business model, founded on employing native speakers from the countries in which it trades. It’s a model that Stone Junction plans to adopt, in the medium-long term, to help with its own international technical PR offering(we already have native French and, of course Romanian speakers). Perhaps if the UK Government genuinely wants to cut its trade deficits it should consider a more open approach to the importing of talent.

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