North East exports helping economic recovery

The North East is leading the way in exports, new HMRC figures confirm

David Coppock
David Coppock

Exporters in the North East are continuing to drive economic recovery with latest figures showing the total value of exports in the last year has risen by 2.32% – the highest figure recorded by any English regions.

Second quarter statistics for 2014 show £3.102bn worth of goods were sold to foreign markets from the region, an increase of £273m and 9.66% compared to the same period last year.

The quarterly figure for April to June 2014 was broadly in line with the first quarter of the year, showing a small dip, but there was a 2.32% rise from £11.724bn to £11.998bn in the 12-months up to the end of June 2014 – the largest rise among the regions and bucking the UK’s average which showed a fall of 2.04%.

David Coppock, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Regional Director, said: “This is an impressive achievement for the region’s exporters and I hope it will inspire others to take up the exporting for growth challenge.

“Despite a small dip in the quarterly figure, the North East is demonstrating growth in many export markets.

The HMRC statistics show the Netherlands to be the largest single market for North East goods, with a 12-month export value of £1.608bn up to the end of June 2014, and the region’s top five industry sectors over the last year were road vehicles, organic chemicals, specialised machinery, medicinal and pharmaceutical products and iron and steel.

Pat Dellow, HSBC’s Tyne Tees area commercial director, welcomed the figures, adding: “These are a steady set of figures, which consolidates the recent growth North East companies have made over the past nine months. Over half of exports still go to the EU so I would encourage North East companies to look further afield.

“Emerging markets are developing at a phenomenal pace and are set to reshape world trade patterns over the next 20 years. By expanding their operations in to new, higher value sectors, they are driving more developed nations to specialise and diversify to compete.

“Working with these countries could be critical for UK businesses who want to remain competitive in the future and could help support the future of the UK economy. Among the many North East businesses exporting for growth is Gateshead-based Cravens Ltd, an independent creative advertising agency which opened an office in Dubai three years ago to develop its global client base.

This led to the development of significant new revenue streams for the firm, which took its first steps into international markets in 2009, helping drive recruitment and an office move earlier this year.

Established in 1948, the company led the global rebrand of the sport of rowing for FISA, the Olympic Governing body based in Switzerland.

It signed up to UKTI’s Passport to Export programme in 2010 and commissioned Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) reports to research opportunities in the United Arab Emirates as well as Qatar in a bid to develop a local presence in the Middle East.

Phil Coverdale, managing director of Cravens Ltd
Phil Coverdale, managing director of Cravens Ltd
 

UKTI’s Gateway to Global Growth programme then provided further support as the company set up a local office in Dubai Media City and has since won several major projects across the region for the likes of Jumeriah Hotels, Qatars Masters Golf and Nikon.

Phil Coverdale, managing director, said: “Our work in the Middle East has enabled Cravens to access significant new client business. Not only have we delivered work ‘on the ground’ in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman but we are also building contacts and opportunities that generate work back in the UK.

“Getting established in a new market required significant investment or time and, of course, money. The support we’ve received from UKTI has been significant. For any business considering expansion overseas, accessing the expertise, advice and practical help available from programmes such as Passport and OMIS is invaluable.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer