Despite the dismal economic climate, European trade is set to grow 77% by 2025.

A recent survey by HSBC, which targeted 300 European businesses, found that a quarter are looking to expand through trading internationally, while nearly one in five businesses are planning to launch a new product or service.

The survey revealed that businesses are primarily looking at Western Europe (25%) and Eastern Europe (23%) in order to seek trade opportunities.

However, John Casey, HSBC’s head of commercial banking, continental Europe, believes that real growth will only occur by trading internationally.

“With Europe’s external trade volumes predicted to grow by 77% by 2025, compared to the world average of 73%, it is Europe’s trade with wider international markets which will offer the greatest prospects for growth.”

“Businesses must look at how they trade across Europe and consider how to adapt this globally. Germany, for example, has strong trading relationships with France, the Netherlands and the UK, but outside Europe is also fast-growing its trade with countries in South America, the Middle East and Asia. All European businesses need to explore their opportunities to grow in not only their domestic market but on an international scale,” Casey adds.

Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards, agrees: “Businesses are sitting on a goldmine of talent and it’s imperative to explore how to take this to an international market and build upon trade corridors.”

Government red tape and legislation has dropped from third to sixth place when it comes to the biggest challenges facing European businesses in 2011. Unsurprisingly, sovereign debt has jumped three places, representing the second most critical challenge faced by businesses this year, HSBC says.