By Ben Simmons

The South East remains the UK’s biggest exporting region with figures for 2011 hitting a staggering £42.8 billion, according to the latest Regional Trade Statistics from HM Revenue & Customs.

Exports for 2011 have exceeded the £42 billion recorded in 2010 but only by 1.9 per cent, the smallest increase of all the UK regions, due to a decline in export growth for the South East in quarter four (September to December 2011).

According to Lewis Scott, Regional Director for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), South East firms need to rise to the exporting challenge if the region and the wider UK is to grow.

“Hitting £42.8 billion is obviously great news for the South East however the decline in the final quarter shows it’s still not enough - we need more companies to take up the export challenge if we want our business base to continue to grow and continue to boost the economy," said Lewis.

“We have just announced the winner of our Export for Growth prize, Crawley airport ground handling experts, Avtura Ltd. The high standard shown by the winner and the standard of entries in general demonstrates that there is a huge amount of creativity and innovation in the region. South East products and services are therefore rightly in demand across the world. We need our small and medium sized firms to rise to the challenge to ‘Sell British’, and exploit the opportunities available to them.

“The latest figures show that the EU remains the most important export market for the South East with a 12-month export value of £19.1 billion, followed by North America, Asia, the Middle-East and North Africa. We can help firms to explore these markets by offering one-to-one advice and support for free. To find out how we can help you call UKTI South East on 08452 789 600.”