THE region’s surging export sales could grow much faster if more help was available, said one of the North East’s biggest business groups.
Companies selling overseas say they are being held back by expensive routes to market plus a lack of finance, as well as skills shortages.
And although the region continues to buck the national trend by growing exports against a general picture of decline, firms want more Government support to help build on their performance.
The findings of the latest British Chambers of Commerce International Trade Survey also revealed that language barriers and poor international transport links are holding back North East export potential.
Exporters, led by car giant Nissan’s Sunderland plant, helped lift the region’s overseas sales to a record £13.75bn in the 12 months to the end of March. They also grew to hit a record £3.6bn in the first quarter of this year, compared to a national fall of 2.5%.
However, the actual number of North East exporters is relatively low at just over 1,000.
The North East Chamber of Commerce is now calling on the Government to do more to help the region meet David Cameron’s target of doubling overseas trade by 2020.
The chamber’s director of policy Ross Smith said: “If the Government is serious about doubling exports and exploiting new and lucrative overseas markets, then more support is required.