When it comes to exporting the East of England like other parts of the UK still sends more than half its exports to the EU.
The US is our single largest market (and growing) but that said East of England companies are doing great business further afield.
Whilst many developed economies are still struggling with slow recovery, exports to less familiar markets with higher growth rates and bigger opportunities are growing apace.
In 2012 the East of England showed the highest growth of any English region in exports to non-EU markets. China is established as a top 10 market for the region, exports of goods to Brazil were up 19 per cent and to South Africa up 21 per cent.
Developing markets are changing the face of international business – with many millions of potential new customers, low-cost communications and improving infrastructure it is these growing economies which offer today’s and more importantly tomorrow's opportunities.
Striking out into new and unfamiliar markets can be daunting but the prize is worth an investment of time and effort. And of course UKTI is here to help, which is why we are hosting an Export Week from 13 -17 May dedicated to High Growth Markets.
This Export Week boasts a programme of events and activities to inspire business in our region to export to countries including Brazil, China, India, Nigeria and Turkey. Events will take place right across the region, from the Hethel Engineering Centre in Norfolk via Cambridge to Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, offering something for both the novice and experienced exporter - from seminars and master-classes to networking events. So whether it is Web trading and E-Commerce or the burgeoning Education market in the Middle East, there is something for everyone.
The past year has been a challenging time for the region’s companies but I am convinced that almost every company– from single-owner operations to large corporations - should aim to export its products and services. This year’s Queens Awards featured 24 companies from East of England, including 19 in the category for International Trade - a timely reminder that there is still excellent business to be had in the markets UKTI are focussing on during Export Week.
And when research shows us that companies who export make a 34 per cent productivity gain in their first year of international trading and are 11 per cent more likely to survive than those who only sell in the UK, it’s clear that exporting is good for business of all sizes.
Once you have decided to take up the challenge we have an array of support packages to help, from programmes for first time exporters to tailored research, trade missions and specific help for larger companies. Our colleagues in Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions across the world are ready to share their knowledge and contacts, too, so there’s a fantastic team in place to support your export plans.
I therefore invite you all to join UKTI at one of our regional Export Week events, to find out how UKTI can help your business grow and prosper through exporting to exciting new markets. We’ll be right beside you every step of the way so take that first step today.
Find out more about Export Week events in the East of England on our dedicated pages at www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk and more about our full range of services at www.ukti.gov.uk or by phoning us on 0845 641 9955.