EXPORTS from the North East reached another record high for the 12 months to the end of June, bringing the annual total up to £14bn.
The figures represent an increase of 7.8% for the region compared with a year before, despite a 6.3% fall in value of exports in the last quarter.
But exports look likely to pick up, despite the dip from the record £3.6bn in the first quarter when the North East was one of only three regions of the UK to show growth.
Car manufacturing still makes up the lion’s share of the region’s exports, with the continuing success of Nissan in Washington leading the industry’s overseas sales.
The plant, which now employs more than 6,200 workers, has not only seen the growing popularity of its Juke and Qashqai models, of which 1,200 are now made every day, but also has plans to make the new Invitation model on the site.
The pharmaceuticals industry is also responsible for a large proportion of overseas sales, and the iron and steel industry exports nearly £400m – a figure which is set to rise with the switching on in April of Thai steel giant SSI’s blast furnace in Redcar, which will produce 3.6m tonnes a year when it reaches full productivity.
David Coppock, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) regional director, said: “Despite a dip in export figures during the last three months, the North East has enjoyed another excellent export performance this year ... our highest recorded.”
The figures come after Chancellor George Osborne set a target of boosting British exports to £1tn by 2020 in his Budget speech in March, and Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled the Export for Growth initiative last year to increase the number of SMEs that export from the current one in five to one in four, bringing the country in line with the EU average.