Hamilton hails effort as NI exports overtake GB performance

Northern Ireland exports have risen over a twelve month period by six per cent to �7.4 billion
Northern Ireland exports have risen over a twelve month period by six per cent to �7.4 billion

Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA, has praised the continued increase in the export performance of Northern Ireland companies.

Commenting on new figures from HMRC he said they reflected the ongoing focus by businesses across the province on developing overseas sales.

“These latest results from the HMRC which show a 6% increase on a rolling 12 month period is extremely welcome,” he said.

“This is particularly encouraging, given that, once again, we are the leading region of the UK in terms of export growth and with only marginal growth of 0.2% across the UK as a whole being reported.

“I commend our local businesses as they have embraced the Executive’s focus on exports by expanding into new markets and developing existing relationships further.

“I am convinced that this continued export performance demonstrates that we are on the right path to establishing Northern Ireland as a truly globally competitive economy.”

The figures from HMRC show the province’s manufacturing export performance improving at a better rate than any other part of the UK, with a 6% rise in the value of exports to £7.4bn.

One of the main factors behind the export bonanza has been the post-EU slump in the value of the pound which has made British goods more attractive in foreign global markets.

However, as a direct consequence of this the cost of importing raw material has risen which economists have warned is likely to lead to greater pressure on prices in the new year.

The fastest improving trade area has been the USA which saw a 30% rise in business while more than £4 billion of export business was done with the EU alone during the 12 month period.

At the same time cross border trade in to the Irish Republic rose 3% to 3bn.

However, Northern Ireland’s achievement cannot be put down to currency moves alone as the same conditions saw Scotland’s export performance fall in the same period.

Mr Hamilton said he wanted to build on the firm foundation through initiatives such as the recently launched Trade Accelerator and a new International Trade Plan, “both of which will help exporters take full advantage of opportunities in external markets.”