The North East is continuing to buck the national trend by continuing year-on-year growth in exports, latest figures reveal.
The total value of the region’s exports to the end of 2014 rose by 7.24%, in stark contrast to a national fall of 3.89%.
The latest quarterly export figures released by HMRC for September to December 2014 show that £3.289bn worth of goods was exported from the North East, an 8.21% increase of £250m compared to the same period last year.
And the North East remains the only English region with a consistent positive balance of trade - exports greater than imports - with the figure at £4.45bn.
David Coppock, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) regional director, said: “It’s great to see that North East exports are continuing to grow, with more companies taking up the exporting for growth challenge.
“The news comes as we once again begin the search for the region’s top exporters, with the launch of the North East Exporters’ Awards 2015 which recognise the efforts of companies that are making a huge contribution, through their exporting achievements, to both the regional and UK economies.
“Exporting is good for business and we hope the region’s ongoing success, will not only encourage existing exporters to enter the awards but also inspire others to follow in their footsteps and help us play out part in the 2020 Export Challenge set by the Government.”
The Netherlands remains the largest single market for North East goods with a 12-month export value of £1.56bn up to the end of December 2014, followed by the US at £1.489bn, Belgium at £1,054m and Spain at £952m.
The region’s top five industry sectors in the last 12 months were road vehicles, specialised machinery, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, organic chemicals and iron and steel.
One of the region’s big export success stories in recent years has been Glanbia Performance Nutrition, of Teesside, which received the Mid and Large Exporter of the Year Award last year at the North East Exporters’ Awards.
The company, which provides sports nutrition functional food bars and powders for many of the leading sports brands in the UK, has grown rapidly since 2011.
Alex Barker, general manager at Glanbia Performance Nutrition’s manufacturing site in Middlesbrough, said: “We had an excellent reputation in the UK and set ambitious targets for growth across Europe for our contract manufacturing commercial team.
“The key elements of the strategy were to identify premium brands, and offer the quality, efficiency and innovation that had driven our UK business.
“We decided to focus on the premium market, because the opportunities for us to compete and build on our reputation and USPs were clear, and customers across Europe could benefit from the same level of support regardless of location.”
Mr Coppock added: “Many companies across the region, such as Glanbia Performance Nutrition, are already reaping the rewards of exporting and our role at UKTI is to encourage others to take up the challenge and make the most of the many opportunities available.
“We have a wide range of support services available to companies, whatever their size and whatever their business, to help them win new business overseas.”
For more details about the North East Exporters’ Awards 2015 and how to apply visit northeastexportersawards.co.uk.