Clive Drinkwater, Regional Director for UKTI North West, today welcomed the extra funding for support services announced in the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement and looked forward to a boost in overseas trade for the region in the New Year.

Mr Drinkwater was addressing the first group of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Export Champions for the North West, who were gathered today (Tuesday 11 December) to discuss how best to encourage new firms to export and to increase overseas business in 2013.

The Export Champions programme is unique to the North West, and involves recruiting successful international firms to help and advise new companies on their export journey, offering peer to peer support in addition to the wide range of individually tailored professional services available from the UKTI team.

Almost 30 export champions have been recruited in the North West as part of UKTI Regional Director Clive Drinkwater’s drive to create 1000 new exporters for the region. The group includes both large and small companies from a range of sectors, covering all parts of the North West.

In Merseyside the companies include Liverpool based Charge Point Technology Ltd, which manufacture containment valves for the pharmaceutical sector and has won the Queen’s Award for International Trade for the last three years; RS Clare & Co Ltd – the country’s oldest manufacturer of lubricants for the chemical industry – and ATG Access Ltd, which manufactures everything from residential bollards to high-tech, anti-terrorist systems and is currently exporting to 42 countries.

Another export champion is Southport based Inciner8 which sells waste incinerators and recycling equipment in 55 countries worldwide and has increased export sales by 136% in the last three years.

Managing Director of Inciner8, Vince Ferguson said:

“Export is paramount for economic growth and development, British made products are still highly regarded around the world and I would like nothing more than to see an increase in firms exporting a quality product. I would advise new exporters to thoroughly research and evaluate markets. The development stage is essential, get to know the competition to determine if your product is right, be culturally aware, and capitalize on technological advancements.”

Speaking at today’s event, Mr Drinkwater said,

“Exports in the North West were £6.3 billion last quarter, up almost £1 billion since the previous quarter, and we are still experiencing growth in key markets.  Exports to China are up by 12% compared to last year, India up 4% and Brazil up 2%. Exports to the USA from the North West are nearly £1.4 billion, making this our best quarter in America since 2010, so despite the current economic climate, we are definitely bouncing back.

“The extra funding for UKTI announced in the Chancellor’s statement – an increase of £140 million over 2 years  – reflects how important international trade is to the Government.  Exports are vital for economic growth and we are delighted with the increased UKTI funding which will provide a further boost to help local businesses and to facilitate economic growth in the region.

“As a result we will be able to increase the number of International Trade Advisers and offer additional funds to SMEs with high growth potential, enabling more companies to successfully export.  In addition £1.5 billion has been made available to provide loans to overseas buyers purchasing British goods.

“In the North West our Export Champions are an integral part of our strategy, which is why I am delighted to have persuaded almost 30 of our best exporting firms to join us in the drive to increase exports.

“Our inaugural Export Champions are all businesses who will inspire and motivate those new to international trade, both by promoting the benefits of export via their own successes and by sharing knowledge and experience.

“It is inspiring to attend this event today and meet such a wide range of businesses large and small, all willing to help contribute to the prosperity of the North West, both via their own companies and now with the help they have pledged to give to others.

“As diverse as these companies are, they all have one thing in common – their positive attitude and pro-active approach to seeking new export orders which make them inspirational ‘Export Champions’ who will become a beacon to  inspire non-exporters to get started and to encourage new exporters to do more.”

To contact the North West International Trade Team please call 0845 603 7053 or email info@uktinorthwest.co.uk

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