£1.4bn success for North East firms looking overseas

Chamber International Trade Director Julie Underwood
Chamber International Trade Director Julie Underwood

Almost £1.4billion-worth of goods and services were shipped overseas by North-East exporters over the past year.

As the region’s companies continued to blaze a global trail, with major international business contacts developed, figures released at the very end of last year show exports totalled £1.395billion.

Thanks to the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s international trade team, companies from car giant Nissan to Northumberland-based beverage business Fentimans were supported to sell both products and services around the world.

As well as export documentation, there were successful trade missions to China and Boston in November and December alone.

Julie Underwood, Chamber international trade director, said: “The trade documentation figures are a great indicator of our exporting prowess in the North East. I am also delighted feedback on the trade missions has been excellent.

“Many people who export start small and relatively local then develop their confidence and feel ambitious to try to trade further afield.

“We have a whole range of sectors and countries’ trade shows lined up in the coming year, which give our North East businesses the chance to grow their client base.”

The Chamber has specialist advisers who support companies to attend these events and a dedicated export documentation service which has facilitated international trade.

As part of its Stronger North East campaign for 2018, the Chamber is also urging the Government to give more support to exporters and those who want to try international markets for the first time.

Meanwhile, the North East England Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey’s main findings were outlined at a regional event last week. They included the region seeing the strongest growth since 2015 and business confidence up, with manufacturing investment at its highest since 2015.

Guest speaker Andrew Hebden, deputy agent for the Bank of England in the North East, outlined the Bank’s latest economic forecast which sees inflation gradually falling from its current level of 3.1 per cent as the impact from sterling’s depreciation in 2016 begins to wane.

He added: “The Bank finds the QES carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce extremely valuable to understand how businesses are feeling. It very much supports and reinforces the work that our agents carry out as we meet with businesses every day.

“I was particularly interested in the results of the latest survey especially the fact that respondents highlighted inflation as a particular concern at present.

“These topics are central to intelligence we are gathering from companies along with a specific interest in the labour market and how firms are responding to reports of increased recruitment difficulties in terms of pay award expectations for 2018.”