By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor, Herald

 ADVICE: Linda Middleton-Jones, inset, says firms should act now, before Brexit

An expert in overseas trade is urging Plymouth firms to avoid a Brexit disaster by cozying up to their foreign contacts well before the UK leaves the European Union.

Linda Middleton-Jones has just launched a consultancy which advises firms on how to export or increase their overseas trading.

Ms Middleton-Jones (below), who has had a long career working with top business organisations, said firms should be building their contacts with foreign trading partners now – before Prime Minister Theresa May activates Article 50.


“With Brexit, the single most vital thing is for companies that are exporting to reinforce their relationships,” she said.

“They should treasure relationships and make contact while we are waiting to see when Article 50 is triggered.

“It’s about keeping customers and striving for that trade to continue with Europe.”

Ms Middleton-Jones believes the Government will activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal mechanism for leaving the EU, even though no date has been set for this yet.

She also thinks the Prime Minister will negotiate a good settlement for the UK.

“We export to Europe and will export to Europe,” she said. “We have the best innovation and quality and trade is good.

“I’m sure Theresa May will find the right way forward, I’ve got confidence in her.

“The British public has warmed to her and when it’s (Article 50) triggered it will be on our terms.”


 DEUTSCHE FREUNDSHAFT: Linda Middleton-Jones with business bosses Paul Mills and Dr Astrid Ritter-Heinrich during a German trade mission event in Somerset


Ms Middleton-Jones is a law graduate who specialised in international trade law and European law.

She represents the Institute of Export in the South West, and has worked with chambers of commerce in Plymouth and Somerset and with the Government’s now defunct Manufacturing Advisory Service.

Her new consultancy, Middleton Jones, is based in Tiverton, but covers Plymouth.

It helps firms create export strategies, identify markets, deal with documentation, and keep up-to-date with legislation and regulations.


It is working with the Department for International Trade.

“We can mentor and talk to companies,” she said. “We will also set up delegations and trade missions with the support of local authorities and other organisations.

“And we will deal with foreign companies that want to contact and work within the UK.”

Middleton Jones is organising a global trade summit which will be held in Taunton, on October 5, 2016, and will involve delegates from China and Russia.

Ms Middleton-Jones said firms that sell abroad can increase their turnover by 40 per cent.

“There’s a greater risk in not exporting,” she said.

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