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18 December, 2013 - 13:41 By News Desk

Eastern region sales to China surge

Liz Basing, East of England regional director for UKTI

Helped by massive sales of inkjet and high technology products to China from the Cambridge UK cluster, the East of England has seen a significant upsurge in exports to the Orient. Hong Kong is also proving fertile territory.

New figures from UK Trade & Investment East covering July to September show a nine per cent rise in the region’s exports to China to £766 million.

Mexico and the US are other trade hotspots for the region. EU countries have not proved a happy hunting ground but there has been a substantial increase in trade with Switzerland and financially stricken Greece.

The quarterly stats show that exports to markets outside the EU continue to rise – up by 2.5 per cent year-on-year to £11.85bn; however exports to the EU are down 9.9 per cent to £15.19bn. The EU dip means that regional exports to the end of September were down 4.9 per cent at £27.04bn.

Exports from the region to Mexico are up 52 per cent at £214m and to the US – the East’s biggest market – up 8.7 per cent at £3.5bn; bucking the downward Europe trend, Switzerland up 34 per cent at £508m and Greece up 28 per cent at £90m.

Other highlights include a 26 per cent increase in exports to Hong Kong at £613m, India up 6.3 per cent at £308m and a 200 per cent rise in exports to Angola with the annual total now at £255m.

Liz Basing, East of England regional director for UKTI, said: “It is encouraging to see continuing strong rises in markets outside the EU, particularly high-growth markets like China and India where significant opportunities continue to exist.

“Only recently we have seen the Prime Minister lead the largest ever trade mission to China which has helped in securing £5.6 billion worth of deals for UK companies, including some in our region.

“However, the EU remains a core focus for many of our region’s exporters. More recently we have seen the eurozone start to turn a corner, and our increased trade to Greece is of particular note.

“We can do much more. UKTI is committed to helping more businesses grow through exports, with support both here at home and through our extensive overseas network.

“Over the coming months we will be running a number of events and overseas trade missions for start-ups and emerging companies, for whom exporting might seem a daunting step.

“In the new year we will be hosting a series of intensive workshops to ensure the best new business ideas across the region get in export-ready shape; and we will also run a series of Export Insight Visits to countries within the EU for new and novice exporters to give them an introduction to exporting and the help available to them through our overseas network.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Liz Basing

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