Trade boost for eastern region firms

Latest international trade data has revealed that businesses in the East of England are out-performing every other part of the UK in exporting to the European Union.

Statistics released by HM Revenue & Customs reveal that in the first quarter of 2011 exports to EU countries from the East of England rose by 34.9pc – more than three times the UK increase of 11.4pc.

In the 12 months to March, companies from the eastern region sold goods worth �14.82bn to the EU, which accounts for more than 10pc of the UK's total trade.

Overall, exports from the East of England were up by 28.5pc in the quarter ending in March, compared to the UK increase of 17.4pc.

Liz Basing, UK Trade and Investment's (UKTI) international trade director for the region, said: 'This is a terrific success story; companies in the East of England are again proving themselves to be the very best of British and are spearheading the economic recovery and making a huge success in trading overseas.

'This increase reflects the 34pc increase in demand our team of local international trade advisers have seen from companies researching new international markets.

'But businesses in the East of England cannot rest on their laurels or be complacent. In today's ever-shrinking global market, no country and no part of the world should be beyond the reach of ambitious companies from our region.'

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The figures also reveal that exports from the East of England to Eastern European countries which are outside the EU doubled in the year to March, up by 101pc to �574m.

That is double the pace of the UK overall, which saw growth of 47.8pc.

However, Ms Basing also said there were other major markets to tap into in Asia and the Pacific.

She added: 'UK Trade & Investment is putting effort, through our East Meets East campaign, into helping the region's companies get ahead in countries such as China, Japan, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

'We stand ready and able to provide the support and advice businesses need to boost their export trade. Small and medium-sized companies.'

UKTI is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy and helps overseas companies bring high quality investment to the UK's economy.