North East businesses are heading to the Commonwealth according to the latest quarterly export statistics.
Figures released by HMRC for January to March 2014 show that £3.104bn worth of goods were exported from the region – an increase of £141m or 4.75% compared to the same period last year.
There was also a 1.22% increase in the 12-month rolling total, from £11.58bn up to end of December 2013 to £11.723bn in the 12 months up to the end of March 2014 – the second highest of all the English regions and way up on the UK average, which showed a fall of 0.81%.
Canada, Cyprus and Pakistan are proving particularly lucrative for local exporters, with overseas sales from Canada now standing at £224.22m, up by 31.9% on this time last year, exports to Cyprus now at £11.5m, up by 29.45%, and exports to Pakistan recorded at £6.27m, a rise of 21.2%.
David Coppock, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) regional director, said: “Trade within the Commonwealth is estimated at £300bn a year and the Commonwealth Games will provide further opportunities to boost this trade.
“The latest statistics show the North East continues to overcome economic hurdles and rise to the challenge to grow.”
The HMRC statistics show that the region is one of three which continue to grow, having the second highest percentage increase in exports in England.
The Netherlands remains the largest single market for North East goods with a 12 month export value of £1.62bn up to the end of March 2014.
The region’s other top markets are: USA at £928m, France at £886m, Spain at £794m and Russia at £729m.
The region’s top five industry sectors in the last 12 months were: road vehicles, medicinal & pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, organic chemicals and specialised machinery.
One business that has experienced export growth is Hire Torque Ltd (HTL) which recently made a multi-million pound investment in new, bigger corporate headquarters in Cramlington as part of its ongoing journey to become a true global supplier.
The company specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of controlled bolting equipment for a wide range of industries and its export department has grown to become a fully equipped global department known as HTL Worldwide which now spans a global distributor network covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the former Soviet Union, Asia Pacific and South America.
In a bid to develop the HTL Worldwide identity, HTL has worked with UKTI and made good use of its Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) reports, particularly for markets such as Russia, Asia Pacific and Saudi Arabia. HTL plans to continue working with UKTI as part of its future growth strategy.
Stephen Jones, managing director of HTL, said: “Purchasing the new premises is a major step forward in our growth strategy. We started out in premises the size of a double garage with two employees and now have over 50 staff across three UK facilities in Manchester, Aberdeen and Cramlington.
“This is a great performance indicator of how our company has grown as a result of everyone’s hard work and commitment to our ongoing expansion and journey to become a true global controlled bolting supplier.”