27 March, 2013 - 15:44 By News Desk

European exports: From hangover to Hannover

The end of our business year is always a busy time and this year is no exception.

Our big set piece this month was Exporting for Growth at Newmarket. It’s a tried and tested formula and one that works well for our clients – there’s no substitute for a face to face conversation and as ever we were able to bring in a large number of commercial officers and offer East of England companies time with someone who lives and works in their target markets.

We brokered more than 400 meetings on the day and put on seven seminars on subjects from ‘Doing Business in the Nordics’ to ‘Export – is it for me?’

I love these events – they remind us, if we need a reminder, that our work for business in the region has a human dimension and it’s always great to see a room full of people in animated discussion about the subjects UKTI knows best. If you missed it, don’t worry, there’s lots more to come in the year ahead.

For example we will be running a series of events on high growth markets from May 13-16 and a repeat of last year’s hugely successful Export Week in November, plus lots more in between. We’ll also be running trade missions as usual, including visits to India, China, Mexico and South Africa, and masterclasses on challenging markets.

If you want to be among the first to hear about next year’s opportunities, contact Leon Palmer in our marketing team (l.palmer [at] uktieast.org.uk) and get yourself onto our mailing list.

I was delighted to be able to accompany Lord Green to two very impressive companies in Essex a couple of weeks ago, working with Essex Chambers. Hidden Technology Systems International Ltd and John Anthony Signs are both based in Rayleigh and a large proportion of their annual turnover in 2012 was international business.

We are looking forward to seeing the Minister for Trade and Investment in Norfolk, Suffolk and Luton over the next few months. However ministerial interest in East of England business is not confined to visiting companies here - award-winning tech company Amino Communications from Swavesey would testify to this as they joined Lord Green on a high level mission to Mexico and Colombia recently.

To underline further the competitive advantage working with UKTI can offer, recent success stories include Borehamwood-based tech company Symphony Environmental which successfully used UKTI to strengthen its presence in Mexico and drainage systems manufacturer ACO International, based in Bedford, from where the company used UK Trade & Investment’s contacts to help establish its new South African headquarters.

The success of these companies in high growth markets is very much in line with what the trade statistics show us. The big story for the East of England is an impressive 16.4 per cent rise in exports to countries outside the EU.

A rise of 28 per cent in goods exports put the US back into top spot as our most important export destination, while exports to the Middle East rose by 11 per cent, to Latin America by 14 per cent and to Southern Africa by a massive 97 per cent.  Rebalancing continues and a drop of 14 per cent in exports to Europe has contributed to a small decrease in the overall figure.

However, Europe is still important, particularly to new exporters, and this region still exports over £15bn to our continental neighbour, and well over half of total goods exports. Germany remains a key market for our region and UKTI will be supporting the 75 British companies, including 12 from East of England  who are exhibiting at next month’s major trade fair in Hannover. For a free pass to the UKTI Business Lounge, register at: hannover2013 [at] ukti-events.co.uk

As those figures show, there is still a huge amount of export business to be done. If you’re wondering where to go for help with international trade there’s a very simple answer – talk to UKTI!

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