North East England Chamber of Commerce’s export team has supported £1billion of exports from the region’s firms in the first six months of the year, the highest figure ever achieved.
The products exported are from a range of businesses of all sizes around the region, from Nissan to Fentimans and from Ecco Finishing to Guardian Marine Testing, for destinations around the globe.
Brian Dakers, international trade manager, said: “There were a number of factors that led to this great statistic, including the devaluation of sterling which has made our goods very attractive overseas and enabled some businesses to compete where perhaps they hadn’t been able to do so previously. The food and drink sectors were particularly strong and there is definitely an increased appetite for UK-made goods.
“It is good for our regional economy that we are seeing new exporters who are putting their toe in the water of selling overseas or growing through selling to additional markets once they’ve whet their appetite in Europe or North America.
“Middle-Eastern markets are particularly buoyant at present. The Qatar World Cup and the Dubai Expo have both been excellent opportunities for Chamber Global members who are winning work in a number of sectors, including infrastructure projects designed to transform the host cities in time for huge increases in footfall.
“There has been a growing trend for companies selling to countries outside of the EU in part due to more businesspeople travelling to Asia, for example, on holiday and then deciding to explore opportunities. Anecdotally, we also hear of successes coming in via support of the Global Chamber network, enabled by the Department for International Trade to assist SMEs looking to do more in particular high-growth areas and now gaining traction.
“These are a very encouraging set of statistics which are reflective of a broad base of customers all doing well.
“Our exporting companies represent the cream of the UK’s offer and will capitalise on opportunities with the best of them.
“Imagine what they could achieve with a stable environment, certainty over Brexit and an industrial strategy designed to bolster their efforts.”
Companies are helped to export by the Chamber international trade team with practical advice and services including tax, documentation, licenses and customs compliance.
The Chamber also has regular events and trade missions to support businesses who already export or want to explore overseas markets, delivered by the Department for International Trade.