East of England: Region accounts for �1 of every �10 worth of goods exported from UK, firms told

The East of England accounts for almost �1 in every �10 worth of goods exported from the UK, a Government Minister told businesses yesterday on a visit to the region.

Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Stephen Green was the keynote speaker at a Doing business in the USA event organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the Government department which encourages UK firms to export their goods, held at the Kaetsu Centre in Cambridge.

He went on to visit Adastral Park, the hi-tech centre at BT Martlesham, Ipswich, then Timberwolf, a Stowmarket firm which has been designing and manufacturing chip and shred machines for the past 25 years.

“The USA is the world’s largest economy and Britain’s biggest export market. It offers huge potential for local companies but it is important that you carefully do your research in this large and complex nation,” said Lord Green.

“UK Trade & Investment actively supports UK companies to find new export customers and we welcome approaches from East of England companies. Our support for potential exporters is a key part of the Government’s plan to double Britain’s export receipts by 2015.”

Exports from the East of England to the USA are growing and it is seen as a key market for UK companies.

The Chancellor of The Exchequer has announced increased funding of �140million over two years for UKTI to deliver an ambitious package of support designed to get more SMEs exporting. The Chancellor also announced an additional �600m of capital funding for science, research and innovation, which takes the total investment since the 2010 spending review to an additional �1.515billion.

Most Read

The aim is to support hi-tech areas such as Cambridge and Martlesham, helping the UK gain a competitive advantage, through innovations such as big data and energy efficient computing, synthetic biology and advanced materials.

Businesses were told about key legal and marketing challenges faced when doing business or setting up in the USA, and Ipswich firm Shared Band, which has created patented technology is designed to radically improve the performance and resilience of internet connections, shared its own US experiences.

Shared Band boss Paul Evans said: “For us, the USA is a vital market providing the opportunity to exploit our technology and develop our business in a market that is open to new technology and the benefits it provides.”

Liz Basing, Regional Director, UKTI East, said: “The US is a key market for companies in many sectors in the East of England. UKTI is holding this event to support regional firms in furthering their global ambition in the US and to help them explore the opportunities available to them in some key sectors with the help of our specialists from the UKTI team based in the USA.”

In his keynote speech, Lord Green pointed out that the region has the largest biotech cluster in Europe in Cambridge, and the largest cluster for research into ICT at the BT Adastral Park in Ipswich.

The East of England accounts for almost �1 in every �10 worth of goods exported from the UK. Figures for last year show the region was the strongest ever for exports at �27.4bn – more than 20% up on 2010, he told delegates. The figure is almost �5bn more in additional export business for the region - the second highest rise after London.

While we need to look at building links with markets that are growing fast for our long term prosperity, we also need to keep up with our traditional partners, like the US, he said.

The East of England has seen a considerable rise of 18.1% year on year to the end of September 2012 in its trade with the USA, which is worth �3.22bn. This compares to a UK rise over the same period of 6.7%, he added.