Calls for more help for export firms

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BUSINESS leaders are calling for more support for North East export firms.

Companies selling overseas claim they are being held back by expensive routes to market plus a lack of finance, as well as skills shortages.

Although the region continues to buck the national trend by growing exports against a national picture of decline, firms want more Government support to help build on their performance.

The findings of the latest British Chambers of Commerce International Trade Survey also revealed that language barriers and poor international transport links are holding back North East export potential.

Exporters, led by Nissan’s Sunderland plant, helped lift the region’s overseas sales to a record £13.75billion in the 12 months to the end of March. They also grew to hit a record £3.6billion in the first quarter of this year, compared to a national fall of 2.5per cent.

However, the actual number of North East exporters is relatively low at just over 1,000.

The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) is now calling on the Government to do more to help the region meet David Cameron’s target of doubling overseas trade by 2020.

Ross Smith, NECC’s director of policy, said: “If the Government is serious about doubling exports and exploiting new and lucrative overseas markets, then more support is required.”