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Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

Disappointment for North East as region sees largest decline in UK exports

The North East has experienced the largest decline in exports in the UK according to the latest regional trade statistics published by HMRC.

Figures show that exporting within the region dropped from £3.1bn to £3bn for the same period last year, a decrease of 1.5 per cent, meaning the region now contributes only four per cent of all exports from the UK.

Conversely, for the UK as a whole it was a more positive story, with the value of UK exports increasing by 1.2 per cent. However, imports decreased by 2.2 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In terms of exporting, machinery and transport equipment remained the top export for the North-East region, closely followed by chemical products. The region’s top export partner was the Netherlands, with the US and Spain being the preferred second and third.

Paul Langhorn, Baker Tilly’s North-East Regional International Partner, said: “These results are hugely disappointing for the region, and it may very well be the case that businesses in the North-East are still nervous about expanding into overseas markets following the economic downturn.

“Interestingly, machinery and transport equipment continue to be the top export commodity for the region, which I suspect is largely due to regional success stories such as Nissan. The hope now is that as the country begins to recover from the economic downturn, more businesses will begin to realise the benefits of establishing themselves within the region.

“The Government is keen to keep telling us about the positive benefits to business of the Northern Powerhouse, and so it seems to me that a sensible move would be to turn their attention to supporting our regional businesses with their expansion plans overseas.”

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