Grass roots activity still indicates exporting harvest

20 April 2016

More than 360 businesses approached overseas trade specialist, Chamber International, for the first time in the last 12 months seeking help with boosting their overseas sales.

In a report on its export support activity, Chamber International which delivers services on behalf of Chambers of Commerce in West and North Yorkshire, says a total of 291 business people attended its courses and seminars providing practical advice to help enterprises improve their understanding of how to sell overseas effectively.

Chamber International, Bradford, also issued a record 25,536 trade documents between April 2015 and April 2016, 80 per cent of which were online. The key markets were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and China. Meanwhile its online platforms which address the complexities of exporting and received more than 500,000 visitors during the financial year.

In a significant coup, Chamber International’s Export Office Services team also won the biggest contract in its six-year history, shipping a huge poultry chilling plant from Pennine Environmental Services Ltd, Leeds, to the USA, overseeing the entire US$2.5m contract from risk assessment, freight buying and delivery in the US.

In other initiatives, Chamber International launched ‘edge’, a new low-cost, Cloud-based practical toolkit which has taken two years to develop; opened its website to advertising and received its first order from Emirates Airlines; forged partnerships with bi-lateral chambers overseas as part of the Global Business Network and started its own Chamber International YouTube channel.

The organisation, which has supported Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s We are International export initiative since 2013, also staged three We are International Export Network events in March, June and December attended by 161 businesses ranging from start-ups to some of the region’s best-known companies.

Chamber International released details of its activity after new Government figures showed that the UK current account deficit reached a new post-war high in Q4 2015 of £33bn or 7% of GDP, indicating that, in spite of Government moves to re-balance UK trade, we still borrow heavily from the rest of the world.

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, said:

Yorkshire and, in particular, Leeds City Region, are among the success stories in the UK’s campaign to drive up exports.

Even though there are significant headwinds for the global economy with China’s slowdown as it continues to change from a manufacturing to a services economy, the knock-on effect for commodity exporters; the Syrian conflict and business uncertainty triggered by the EU referendum, the central message that exporting is good for businesses and the UK economy is being heard in this region.

Our job is to help businesses understand what they need to do to become successful exporters at the grass roots level. We see many small, and often micro, businesses wanting to be involved in selling abroad but we need to be patient as export development can take up to three years from visiting a market.

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