North East economy continues to grow through exports

The total value of North East exports in the last year has risen by 5.33%, compared to a national figure of -3.42%.

Newcastle-based Eliesha Training Ltd's managing director Julie Flanagan on a UKTI market visit to Singapore
Newcastle-based Eliesha Training Ltd's managing director Julie Flanagan on a UKTI market visit to Singapore

The North East economy is continuing to boom with the help of overseas trade as latest figures show export values in the last year has risen by 5.33%.

The figure, released by HMRC, proves the region is consistently bucking the UK trend, in which export values have actually shrunk by 3.42%.

Quarterly figures for July to September 2014 show £2.916bn worth of goods were shipped from the region, an increase of £168m and 6.11%, compared to the same period last year

Although the quarterly figure was slightly less than for the previous three months of the year, there was a 1.4% increase in the 12-month rolling total, from £11.99bn up to end of June 2014 to £12.17bn in the 12-months up to the end of September 2014.

More importantly, the North East also remains the sole region with a consistent positive balance of trade – exports greater than imports – with the figure increasing to £4.45bn. David Coppock, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) regional director, said: “The North East is continuing to see growth in many export markets, which is clearly good news.

“But we cannot be complacent and UKTI will be continuing its efforts to work with partners to help ensure the region’s companies have the support and expertise they need to succeed in the global marketplace.

“Yesterday’s Autumn Statement included details of a new package of support to help small and medium-sized businesses take their first steps into export with £20m of funding in 2015-16. This will help SME’s become independent exporters and help them grow their businesses.

“It will mean UKTI’s International Trade Advisers will be able to offer more help to first time exporters, helps others already exporting break into new markets and keeps the North East focussed on the 2020 Export Challenge set by the Government.”

The statistics show the Netherlands remains the largest single market for North East goods with a 12-month export value of £1.59bn up to the end of September 2014.

Exports to 12 of the region’s top 20 markets grew over the past 12 months, including the USA which increased by 74%, Belgium by 353% and Canada by 139%.

Exports to the EU also grew slightly, by around 3%, with the share of total North East exports to the EU at around 55% of all exports compared to the previous year. Nationally around 51% of all exports are to the EU.

The region’s top five industry sectors in the last 12 months were road vehicles, organic chemicals, specialised machinery, medicinal and pharmaceutical products and iron and steel.

Among the many regional businesses already exporting for growth is Newcastle-based Eliesha Training Ltd, which supplies leadership and management development programmes.

The company has a host of clients across the UK and Europe and signed up to UKTI’s Passport to Export programme to explore other markets further afield, including the Australasia region, leading to market visits to Australia and Singapore earlier this year.

Julie Flanagan, managing director, said: “With UKTI’s support we’ve now secured our first contract in Singapore, worth around £520,000, to support Singapore’s focus on continuous professional development for its workforce. This will help pave the way to access other South East Asia markets”

“The advice and support from UKTI earlier this year has led to very successful outcomes from my first visit to Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.

“I’m excited about developing further prospects within these continents and delighted with the successful negotiation of new distributor agreements, which will open distribution networks throughout South East Asia for Eliesha e-products and strengthen our ability to build networks with innovative Singaporean businesses.

David Coppock added: “It’s great to see companies such as Eliesha Training winning new business overseas and I hope others will follow their example. Our role at UKTI is to make sure companies continue to export and make the most of any opportunities available.”

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