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Working towards an ambitious North East trade and export strategy

The North East England Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are at the forefront of developing a Trade and Export Strategy for the region.

A funding boost from the Department for International Trade will enable us, and our partners, to ensure the voice of the North East is heard as the Government prepares its forthcoming Trade and Investment Strategy.

This presents an opportunity for us to help shape the future of UK trade and export to benefit our region and we are ready to take on the challenge.

Our goal is to prepare a strategy for the LEP area which identifies a future-focused approach for the region to drive more and better jobs, and strengthen productivity and competitiveness within the business base.

To help us achieve this, the Chamber is recruiting an Export Manager for the development of a North East Trade and Export Strategy.

The Export Manager will propose and detail a forward-facing strategy for growing North East trade and export activity in the region.

The plan will focus on increasing international trade with a strong emphasis on supporting earlier stage businesses and SMEs to plan for international growth.

The appointment comes at a time when there have been significant changes in the global economic environment, including COVID-19 and of course the changes to the trading and regulatory environment as a result of the EU Exit.

Trade and investment is a growing part of our economy. The value of goods exports per adult in the North East region is higher than across England excluding London. The value of service exports per adult increased by more than 60% between 2014 and 2017. In 2018/19, the North East region had more than one and a half times more new jobs created per person due to foreign direct investment projects than England excluding London.

In 2019, 59% of the North East region’s exports in goods (by value) were to the EU and 41% were to non-EU countries.

North East exports in goods to the EU increased in value by 10% between 2014 and 2019, from £7.1 billion to £7.9 billion, while North East exports in goods to non-EU countries remained unchanged in value between 2014 and 2019, at £5.4 billion.

Almost 90% of the value of goods exported from the North East region came from three commodities – machinery and transport (55%), chemicals (21%), pharmaceuticals (12%).

As part of the North East Local Industrial Strategy, our aim is to increase the percentage of firms engaged in exporting from 6% to 9.5% by 2030 as a means of raising exports to 35% of annual GVA – with a particular focus on diversification of the goods export profile.

Our Trade and Export plan will align with these goals, in turn informing the Government’s forthcoming Trade and Investment Strategy so together we can drive forward the North East’s economic growth ambitions.

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director (North East LEP) and Julie Underwood, International Trade Director (North East England Chamber of Commerce).

Find out about the Export Manager role here.