Tom Keighley

Netherlands is top North East exporting destination

The Netherlands has become the North East’s top export destination, overtaking France and the USA, but the region’s exporting has fallen.

Statistics published by HMRC show the region has experienced one of the only percentage decreases in exports, caused by falls in exporting to the USA.

The North East was one of only two regions to experience a fall in exports to EU countries in the second quarter of 2013.

Machinery, transport equipment and chemicals led the region’s top export commodities, and iron and steel exports almost doubled during the period.

Top import partners for the North East included Japan, Germany and France. For most UK regions, the import value comes from goods received from within the EU, however the North East bucked this trend.

During the second quarter of 2013, from April to June, the total value of exports from the region was £3.031 billion, compared to £3.141 billion in the previous quarter (January to March 2013) - a fall of 3.5%.

This gave a 12 month rolling value of £12.862 billion, which represented a fall of 3.39 per cent compared with the 12 months rolling total up to the end of March 2013. Nationally, the total annual UK exports decreased marginally by 0.1% to £297.8 billion up to the year ending June 2013, compared to a 5.8 per cent increase recorded for the year ending June 2012.

David Coppock, regional director for UKTI in the North East said that while the fall was disappointing, there was also good news as the region experienced the largest percentage rise, 4.6%, in the number of exporting businesses, with signs of growth in some markets.

He said: “Obviously we’re disappointed that the figures show a fall in the value of goods exported from the North East, but the region still has a positive balance of trade which means we’re exporting more than we’re importing.

“I’m also pleased to see that the number of companies exporting has increased and we’re working hard to boost this number further and aim to create 500 new SME exporters in the region by 2015.

“The figures also show that there are still signs of growth in many markets and sectors. Although we’ve seen a big decline in the region’s exports to the USA, we’ve had increases in the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy and we’ve seen strong growth in exports of manufactured goods.”

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