THE achievements of the region’s export champions were celebrated last night at the North East Exporters Awards.
The five main prize-winners were applauded not only by hundreds of business people at the event at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton but by Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green.
The minister praised North East industries’ efforts to sell overseas after new figures showed the value of its exports rose to a record high this year with growth at twice the average UK rate.
The value of exports in the first quarter of 2011 jumped to £3.4bn, which took the total for the 12 months to the end of March to £12.78bn – nearly 30% higher than a year earlier and double the 17.7% average.
Lord Green said: “This year’s North East Exporters Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of regional export champions, as the North East enjoyed its best ever quarter for the export of goods and services.
“Those who are receiving awards, along with the businesses I have visited today, are proof that North East firms can, and do, succeed in finding business in overseas markets.
“The North East remains an attractive destination for inward investment.”
Earlier, Lord Green had visited successful exporter Gateshead-based International Innovative Technologies and the Port of Tyne.
David Coppock, UKTI’s regional director, said: “We were delighted to join forces with North East Chamber of Commerce and HSBC to be a part of these prestigious awards.
“Judging was once again extremely difficult as there was a very strong field of entries, with more nominations received in 2011 than ever. This is a sure sign that many companies in the region recognise the significant business benefits to developing overseas markets. “