Regional export growth praised as new figures reveal bumper year
The LEP and its We are International campaign partner, UKTI, have welcomed encouraging regional export growth, as new figures reveal the full extent of impressive gains in 2013
The latest trade in goods statistics released today (6 March) by HM Revenue & Customs reveal that total exports for Yorkshire and the Humber were worth more than £17.5 billion for the last year as a whole, topping the previous record best of £16.7bn in 2011.
The final quarter total for October to December was almost £4.6b, the strongest quarter of the year - up from £4.3bn in Q3 and up from £4.1bn for the same period in 2012.
Yorkshire and the Humber was the only northern region to show positive year-end growth, with export values decreasing in the North East and North West for 2013 as a whole versus 2012.
The figures also reveal that regional exports to North America were worth more than £1.3bn for Q4 of 2013, compared to £682 million for the first three months of the year. There was also growth in the EU, Eastern Europe and Latin America/Caribbean for the year as a whole versus 2012, although the total value of exports dipped slightly to Asia/Oceania, Africa and the Middle East.
Mark Robson, Regional Director for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), is confident the growth can be sustained in the new financial year ahead – a pivotal year for the region.
“Analysts suggest that 2013 was the year the UK economy finally got back on track, and that view, underpinned by national GDP growth and other positive indicators, is reinforced by a hugely encouraging year for regional exports.
“It is telling that we have posted our strongest regional totals to date, and I’m quietly confident we can build from here and sustain the upwards trajectory.
“There is still uncertainty in some overseas regions, and it would be remiss to say we don’t still have a long way to go or that the global economy is favourable for all, but we have a very solid platform to build from.
“The year-end figures show that local businesses are taking the initiative and fulfilling their global potential, and they demonstrate once again that we have the skills, products, services and expertise as a region to capitalise on international opportunities wherever they arise.”
The HMRC statistics show that manufacturing, machinery and transport equipment, and chemicals are the key export commodities for Yorkshire and the Humber, with America, France and Germany our top three export partners.
They provide a welcome fillip ahead of UKTI’s Export Week from 7-11 April, when a series of events are planned to encourage more local companies to consider exporting, or to expand existing international operations and explore new markets. Visit www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk for further info and to view the Yorkshire and Humber schedule.
Mark is looking forward to a busy week of activity as the countdown continues to the Yorkshire Grand Depart, which he believes is a golden opportunity to pave the way for further export opportunities.
He added: “The Tour de France will bring unprecedented interest in Yorkshire, and it’s a chance for companies to shine like never before and showcase what they have to offer.
“There is a growing feel-good vibe amongst the regional business community as we build up to the event, and it provides renewed confidence to get out there and compete on the global stage.”
Eric Hawthorn, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s lead Board member for international trade commented: “I’m delighted with these extremely positive results, which point to more and more Leeds City Region firms taking advantage of the immense business opportunities in global markets. The LEP’s We are International campaign has already helped around 300 SMEs take the first steps towards trading overseas, and interest in our Export Network – both from companies looking to explore new markets, and experienced exporters stepping forward as Export Ambassadors – continues to go from strength to strength.
“As the UK’s largest manufacturing base and largest regional financial and professional services centre, the Leeds City Region has the capability to be a much bigger player on the global stage. The LEP is committed to continuing working with UKTI, the Chambers and our other partners to unlock this tremendous potential as an exporter of innovation and services world-wide, and as a national economic powerhouse”.