By Max Clarke

UK exports have surged in value over the past year, rising 17.6% to £273 billion in the year ending March 2010.

The South East remained the most valuable export market, accounting for just shy of 20% of the UK total.

The figures, published today by HM Revenue & Customs also revealed that the North East enjoyed the largest percentage growth, as 25% for the year.

The number of exporters in the UK for Quarter 1 2011, compared with the same quarter last year, increased by 1.4 per cent to 48,168. Northern Ireland had the largest percentage change with a decrease of 4.9 per cent to 1,280. All other regions or countries showed a positive increase in the number of exporters, ranging from 0.3 per cent in the South East to 4.4 per cent in the North East.

Imports for the same period grew by the same amount- 17.4% to reach £371 billion.

The number of importers in the UK for Quarter 1 2011 compared with the same quarter last year, decreased by 4.6 per cent to 65,233. Northern Ireland had the largest percentage decrease of 12.7 per cent to 1,398. All other regions or countries also showed a decrease in the number of importers, ranging from a decrease of 2.3 per cent in the East of England to a decrease of 6.2 per cent in the North East.

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