East of England: Strong annual growth for region’s exports

GROWTH in exports from in the East of England is outstripping the national average, according to new figures.

The region’s exports totalled �6.8billion during the first three months of 2012, taking the total for the year to the end of March to �27.6bn – a rise of nearly 14% on the previous 12 months against 9% growth for the UK as a whole.

The rolling annual figure for the year to March also represents a small rise, of �3million, compared with the year to December 2011.

Exports to other European Union countries fell by 3% but this was offset by increases in exports to all other destinations, including a leap of 22% in exports to sub-Saharan Africa.

Exports to the Middle East and North Africa were up by 9% and those to Latin America and the Caribbean by 8%, while exports to North America, including Mexico and the USA – the region’s third biggest export market, stabilised following a substantial recovery last year.

Liz Basing, regional director at Government-backed organisation UK Trade & Investment, said: “These figures show that the East of England continues to put on a great performance. The EU continues to take nearly 60% of exports from the region and Germany is our number one destination for goods.

“It is difficult to envisage a time when our European neighbours will not be hugely important to our export business, but it is no surprise to see exports to the wider EU coming under pressure.

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“East of England exporters are more than making up the difference by boosting sales to markets with higher growth potential.

“With the global spotlight firmly on the UK in the coming weeks, now is absolutely the right time to explore what less familiar markets have to offer and UKTI is here to help companies do just that.”

She added: “UKTI East will run trade missions this year to vibrant markets such as China, Brazil, Russia, the Gulf, India and Mexico. Closer to home, we are putting on a series of events to make the most of the talents to be featured at the British Business Embassy in Lancaster House, London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Companies in healthcare, advanced engineering, ICT, the creative sector and energy are invited to join us for a series of exciting events featuring broadcast content from the Embassy and inspirational local speakers.”