Region is third-largest exporting area in the country.
Export of goods from the West Midlands region increased to £28.97 billion last year – up 0.8% on 2014, the latest figures released by HM Revenue & Customs reveal today.
They also show that West Midlands remains the third largest exporting region in the country, behind South East and London, with 10.4% of total exports.
This is despite the fact that the number of exporters in the region, which comprises West Midlands, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire, fell slightly by 0.6% to 4,779 between quarter four 2014 and quarter four 2015. There was a strong increase in trade with North America – up 26.6% between 2014 and 2015 – with local companies exporting £6 billion of goods across the pond.
The report shows a 14.6% rise in exports to the Middle East and North Africa, while in Sub-Saharan Africa there was a slight increase of 0.4% in the amount of exports. West Midlands’ exports to the EU also continued to grow during 2015, with the market worth £12 billionn – up 4.4%.
The West Midlands’ top five markets for the year ending December 2015 were USA, China, Germany, France, and the Irish Republic. Christine Hamilton, interim regional director of UKTI West Midlands, said:“These are encouraging figures for West Midlands businesses and the economy as the region continues to show growth in the amount of export of goods.
“USA is a particularly strong market for our area and there is no sign of a slowdown in the number of exports going across the Atlantic, while the Middle East and North Africa is another global market that is showing sustained growth. It is disappointing that the number of exporters was down slightly but UKTI are working hard with partners to encourage more companies to export for the first time and to continue to increase their exports.”
The strongest industrial sectors/commodities for the region were: machinery and transport, manufactured goods and miscellaneous manufactures.
UKTI will hold Export Week in April, which will be the ideal opportunity for companies that are not yet exporting to see how they too can tap into the lucrative markets overseas. It will also enable those who are exporting to look at ways of building on their success.