By Daniel Hunter

Regional cities across the UK are bucking the trend when it comes to international trade, according to FedEx Express.

The report by FedEd Express found that the majority of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the country are doing business overseas, with Bradford leading the way with an 86% export rate. In cities including Leicester, Oxford and Leeds, over three quarters of SMEs are exceeding expectations by trading at higher levels than Britain’s larger cities of Manchester and London.

Exporting confidence within the capital has spread throughout the UK’s cities, with lesser known export epicentres now emerging to lead the race for international clients and custom. Bolstered by the powerful influence of “Brand Britain”, a large majority (79%) of SMEs view their regional locality as a positive factor in stimulating overseas growth and profitability. However, more than a third of those surveyed highlighted they require more support on a local level to achieve international expansion.

"Now is the time to encourage UK SMEs to embrace their regional identities when building global relationships," said Trevor Hoyle, Vice President, Northern Europe Operations, FedEx Express.

“With over 30 years’ experience capitalising on market trends in the UK, we've seen first-hand the wealth of benefits available to a business even at the very start of their export journey. Our main aim is to give all Britain’s regions the support and guidance they need in order to help our customers compete on a global scale."

The report showed there is no shortage in positive thinking about the UK’s exporting future. 94% of SMEs feel optimistic about the year ahead; with 8 in 10 believing their export sales will increase again over the same time period. With average annual export sales topping £1.9m in Portsmouth alone, strong growth is set to continue throughout the rest of 2015 and beyond.

“This research has unveiled some fascinating insights into how regional self-perception and business optimism can be linked,” Mr Hoyle added.

“Our Great British history is rich and full of industrial heritage, the promotion of which can go a long way in driving UK exports forward. Although challenges still remain for some companies in doing business abroad, they can be overcome by having access to the right support, expertise and network."