By Daniel Hunter
Latest figures released by HM Revenue & Customs show that the value of exports from the South West increased by 6.3 percent to £13.46 billion, in the year to September 2013.
According to the latest quarterly figures, the region’s exports account for almost 6.1 percent of England’s total and 4.5 percent of the UK’s exports.
Despite the annual improvement, the region saw a 3.3 percent drop in the value of exports from the previous quarter, to £3.32 billion, prompting a renewed call to action from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in the South West.
Machinery and transport equipment, and manufactured goods continue to be the most exported commodities from the region, while the South West remains one of only two regions with ‘Food and Live’ commodities in their top five export goods.
UKTI Regional Director Russell Jones said that while the fall from last quarter was disappointing after four successive quarterly increases, the annual rise was encouraging. He also urged to region’s businesses, both large and small, to renew their efforts and take advantage of the support available via UKTI’s services.
“We may have seen a dip in exports since the last quarter, but there are positives that we can focus on, such as the overall annual increase from the previous year," he said.
“There is of course still room for improvement and we want to see more companies stepping up to the international trade challenge. I would advise companies to renew their efforts to grow their business overseas and take advantage of the many opportunities out there while UKTI continues to work hard with its many partners to help ensure they have all the support they need to succeed.”
While the South West still exports a fair proportion of its goods and services to Europe, overseas business with the EU decreased in the last quarter, while exporting to Asia and Oceania, The Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa has seen an upturn from the previous year. Exports to China alone have increased by 13.7 percent.
Russell added: “I’m pleased to see that trade with countries further afield has picked up in the last year, as there are so many commercial opportunities in these emerging and high growth markets, including China, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to name a few.
“Although the prospect of trading internationally can be daunting, UKTI can play an instrumental role in helping companies flourish in these markets and mitigate the risk of exporting by providing access to essential knowledge and expertise.”
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