THE North East is showing the rest of the UK what can be achieved by developing a strong export-led economy, a senior business leader said last night.
Dr Neil Bentley, deputy director general of the CBI, said encouraging more companies to export could prove “game-changing” for the UK economy, stressing the high esteem with which British goods and services continued to be held in overseas markets.
He feared a mood of pessimism had engulfed the British people whereas those in growing countries such as Mexico “have the optimism we used to, the sense of opportunity about the future”. “I fear that here in the UK, many have forgotten what that feels like,” he said.
“Across the world among our high-growth economies we need to target, our reputation is high. It’s why exports are essential to our recovery.
“It’s more than 14 years since net trade in goods and services made a positive contribution to UK GDP. But there is progress. In each of the last three months we exported more outside the EU than inside it. And that hasn’t happened since the early 1970s.”
Bentley told the CBI’s North East annual dinner in Gateshead that the region’s record in growing exports – they reached a record high of £14bn in the year to June, proved that “businesses here get it”. “Some 2,000 companies in the North East trade globally, showing the rest of the country what can be done,” he added.