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Chamber statement on regional trade figures March 2017


Photo Caption: Stephen Gallagher, marketing manager of Canford

Ben Powick, North East England Chamber of Commerce policy adviser said: “The latest North East England export figures show a mixed picture for our businesses.

“There was good news that the number of North East businesses who export increased by over 100, compared to last year. It was also positive our EU exports rose sharply by 5.6%. EU trading made up over 60% of our total exports for 2016 and this figure is nearly 4% higher than 2015 and shows strong growth. Nationally, there was an increase in UK exports as a whole.

“However we need to exploit our strengths as a region with a proud exporting tradition. We are urging the Government to give more support for companies to explore new markets overseas and strengthen our core EU base. It was disappointing the Budget didn’t address the need for businesses to have more financial assistance to join trade missions, and grasp export opportunities that might be available to them.

“This month the Government aims to trigger Article 50 which will cause uncertainty for businesses. We know from the Chamber’s recent international trade survey that our members see tariff-free access as the top priority in the Brexit negotiations.”

Stephen Gallagher, marketing manager of Chamber member, Canford said: “These results reflect our own experience in the market place at present. We have no reliable way of predicting the long term effect of Brexit. While it is true that the outcome of the referendum has caused short-term uncertainty, which has subsequently affected the strength of the pound, this is a double edge sword. Imported goods are adversely affected but we find ourselves with a new competitiveness due to exchange rates.

“We can’t influence these factors and will continue to treat Brexit like any other big issue we’ve overcome during our 40 year history. That is, to be prepared for any of the possible issues, and avoid surprises. Based in Washington, Tyne and Wear, Canford manufacture broadcast and professional audio equipment for niche markets which require expert knowledge and skills. The UK does, and can continue to succeed in specialist production and engineering fields, where volumes simply aren’t viable for offshore manufacturing.”