Feature News — 11 June 2018

West Midlands goods exports rose by 7.6% to £33.7bn, for the year ended March 2018, according to the latest HMRC figures (published 7th June), outstripping the national average of 6.5% growth in exports of goods across England to £244.6bn.

The figures for the first quarter of 2018 (Jan – Mar) show that the West Midlands is now home to more than 9,680 exporters, an increase of 2.5% when compared to the first quarter of 2017, with an average value of £913,000 per exporter.

One West Midlands business who has experienced this uplift first-hand is Boss Design. The Dudley-based furniture manufacture has boosted its presence in the Middle East after securing a £500,000 order with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Ian Harrison, Head of Exports for the Midlands at Department for International Trade, said: 

“The latest HMRC figures continue to show a growing appetite for UK goods in overseas markets and many businesses across the West Midlands are already reaping the rewards of trading with global customers.

“Figures outlined in the latest data reflect the ambitions we have seen first-hand. Businesses looking to start their exporting journey, or expand overseas, should be encouraged by this continued positive picture we have seen so far this year.

“We have a network of International Trade Advisers across the Midlands who are on hand to support firms as they navigate new territories. We are also running a number of workshops and events that are designed to help companies overcome their concerns about exporting, as part of our Exporting is GREAT campaign.”

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

“As we continue our path to Brexit, HMRC’s latest figures clearly show every part of the UK making the most of global opportunities as goods exports rise across the country. More than 100,000 businesses are expanding their horizons and making the most of the demand for quality British goods.

“For some, this isn’t the end of the road but the start to their exporting journey. As they grow their networks and create jobs and prosperity across the UK, my international economic department is supporting them through our experienced international trade advisers and Exporting is GREAT campaign.”

Exporting is GREAT is the government campaign to inspire and support more UK companies to take their first steps towards selling overseas and help existing exporters grow further. The campaign is currently showcasing 30+ UK businesses – from a range of sectors and regions – to inspire and support firms up and down the country to export.

Separate figures released by the Department for International Trade on 7th June highlight British businesses feeling that UK exports are set to remain on an ever-growing upward curve as the UK leaves the European Union.

The National Survey of Registered Businesses (NSRB) 2017, published by the Department for International Trade (DIT) surveyed 3,000 businesses from across the UK.

It found:

  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses with an annual turnover of £500,000 or more said they believed that there is strong demand for British good and services from around the world (up from 68% in 2015)
  • Almost half (47%) of all UK businesses believe that the value of UK exports will continue to grow over the next five years, more than double the amount who thought the opposite
  • Nearly two thirds (63%) of businesses with an annual turnover of £500,000 or more businesses agreed that significantly more businesses could export be exporting (up from 55% in 2016)
  • As the Department prepares to launch its Export Strategy, as many as 130,000 companies have made use of DIT’s export support offer

The statistics showcase a change in attitude amongst some businesses to a position where they are increasingly interested in exporting and in the benefits that come with overseas sales.

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