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US Diplomat Joins Celebration of North East Export Success


 A top US diplomat will be among the VIPs as the North East business community gathers to celebrate the achievements of the region's top export champions.

Barbara Stephenson, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in London, will give a keynote speech at this year's North East Exporters' Awards A top US diplomat will be among the VIPs as the North East business community gathers to celebrate the achievements of the region's top export champions.

The annual North East Exporters Awards and gala dinner are sponsored by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) and HSBC, and recognise the efforts of individuals who have helped their companies boost its international sales performance.

Dozens of companies and individuals have been nominated for the awards and the winners will be announced at the special awards dinner, which will take place on Thursday, 12 July, at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.

VIP and members of the business community will gather to celebrate their success which has helped achieve another record year of exports, with more than £13.75bn worth of products exported from the region in the 12 months up to the end of March 2012.

Among them will be Barbara Stephenson, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in London. Ms Stephenson, who holds the rank of Minister in the career Senior Foreign Service, joined the department in 1985 and has previously held the post of US Ambassador to Panama.

Ms Stephenson will give a keynote speech highlighting the special relationship between the UK and the USA, which is the North East's single largest export market, with more than £2.4bn worth of goods exported there in the last 12 months.

David Coppock, UKTI Regional Director for the North East, said:

"We're delighted to be able to welcome Barbara to join our celebrations of the region's exporting success, particularly as the USA plays such a big part in our achievements.

"The awards dinner offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our success and all the hard work of the many companies and individuals who have helped the North East's export performance grow.

"I am greatly looking forward to this year's event. The quality of entries submitted means the judges' task will be a difficult one and is further proof that many companies in the North East are realising the significant business benefits to developing international markets.

"I would encourage those with an interest in business and international trade to join us for this celebration."
James Ramsbotham, NECC Chief Executive, said:

"The North East's fantastic businesses managed to grow our trade with overseas markets through one of the worst recessions in generations and I believe our unparalleled success in exports is something that must be celebrated.

"It is a real coup to be able to bring Barbara to the region to showcase the array of talented firms and individuals we have here as well as further cement our relationship with the US, which is such an important market for North East businesses."

Pat Dellow, Area Commercial Director at HSBC said:

"We are delighted to be once again sponsoring the Overall Achievement Award at the 2012 North East Exporters Awards.

"At HSBC we believe that trading internationally can present great opportunities for business growth and can help drive success. In February we launched a £4 billion HSBC International SME fund to support businesses that currently trade or aspire to trade internationally. With our global connections trade forecast predicting that international trade is the key to future UK growth, this fund is helping SMEs trade with other businesses across the globe.

"We are therefore delighted to be sponsoring these awards which allow us to recognise and acknowledge those forward-thinking local businesses and individuals that have helped shape the North East's export success.

"May I take this opportunity to wish all the businesses who entered these awards every success in the future."

The five categories in this year's awards are:

New Exporter Award
An individual new to exporting within the last two years who has demonstrated exceptional achievement for their company.

Low Carbon Award
An individual engaged in export who can demonstrate significant commercial success from a product with environmental benefits.

Expanded Horizons Award
An individual who can demonstrate his/her success in seeking and identifying new markets and securing new business for his/her company.

Export Team of the Year
A team working in export who can demonstrate significant added value to its business through adopting innovative techniques, personnel development and successful implementation of the company's export sales strategy.

Overall Achievement Award
The overall winner, chosen from the applicants shortlisted for all categories.

The awards will go to those who, in the judges' opinion, achieved the most for their companies in pursuit of export business. The overall winner of each award will be presented with a cheque to the value of £1,000.

Compere for the evening will be television presenter Wendy Gibson, who is passionate about promoting the North East and supporting local businesses.

To find out more about the event and to book your tickets log onto the website at: