The number of exporting businesses in Wales, Yorkshire and Scotland are growing faster than anywhere else in the UK, according to analysis of official figures by Santander.
The bank's Corporate & Commercial division found that the largest rise in the number of firms trading internationally between 2012 and 2014 came in Wales (32%), with nearly 5,000 exporting by the end of the study.
Yorkshire & Humberside recorded the second-highest growth, rising 21% to 13,900 over the three year period. Scotland sat in third at 17%, with more than 11,000 businesses now exporting.
The East Midlands (12%), North West (11%), London (5%), South East and South West (both 3%) all saw more businesses exporting in that time, but the North East, West Midlands and east of England saw numbers decline.
Santander's analysis revealed a huge rise in the number of Welsh businesses exporting their services. By the end of 2014, 2,800 businesses in Wales were exporting services - an unparalleled increase of 87% in just three years. In stark contrast, the number of Welsh businesses exporting goods rose just 4% - however, that was still the fourth largest across all regions of the UK.
Santander attributed the growth in Welsh service exports to the assistance and active encouragement that the Welsh Government has provided to businesses looking to expand overseas.
Overall, the figures show that the number of business exporting in the UK grew 5% to 221,300 over the three year period. However, the number did fall by around 7,000 between 2013 and 2014.
John Carroll, head of product management & international business at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Our analysis shows some strong growth in the number of British firms that export, particularly with regards to the services sector. However, it is vital that more firms focus on international trade as a primary driver of growth. 2016 is a key year for British businesses and exporting: trading internationally has become even more important to the national business narrative, as evidenced by the Government’s target to grow UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020.
“It is clear that there are significant opportunities globally for UK businesses across a range of markets. Santander is seeing strong demand among its clients for information and support, and is passionate about helping businesses make the most of the incredible benefits that exporting can bring. The Santander Group has one of the most extensive international networks and offers an unparalleled range of products and services to help firms realise their global aspirations.”