The value of exports from North West businesses has reached its highest ever level, according to the latest statistics.
Figures released by HM Revenue & Customs show exports from the region were valued at more than £6.8 billion for the first three months of 2012 – an increase of £461 million on the same period last year.
The news has been welcomed by UK Trade & Investment, the government body which encourages British businesses to trade abroad. It says Germany, France and Ireland are still among the North West’s five biggest customers, despite the recent difficulties facing the Euro.
Exports to other European countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium, are also continuing to grow.
Overall, North West businesses exported goods worth £3.42 billion to European Union countries between January and March this year. The value of exports to non-EU countries, including the USA and China, stood at slightly less at £3.39 billion.
The region continues to be the country’s biggest exporter outside of London and the South East, with the chemicals, machinery and transport sectors bringing in the highest levels of investment.
“This is fantastic news for the region," commented Clive Drinkwater, UKTI’s Regional Director for the North West, "especially at a time when people are facing financial difficulties both here and abroad. There’s a real breadth of businesses in the North West, many of which have something unique to offer customers in other countries.
“The fact that exports reached an all time high during the first three months of the year shows that firms are trying harder than ever to find new business abroad.
“The USA and China continue to be among the countries where we export the most, but we’ve also seen an increase in the number of goods we sell to European Union countries like France and Germany.
“It’s great to see that goods produced by North West businesses are appreciated by people all over the world.”
• Businesses can get help and advice on how to export successfully by visiting www.ukti.gov.uk or by calling the North West International Trade Team on 0845 603 7053.