March 15 2019 @ 15:53 by Richard Dawson
North East England Chamber of Commerce has analysed the Government’s latest international trade statistics and reports significant growth in trade with the United States.
The North East’s export statistics for 2018 show consistent growth in the region’s third biggest market, North America, with increased exports both quarterly, up 17% for Q4 and annually, up 4%. While there was a drop in vehicle exports, likely due to the America First policy, there was significant growth in Chemical & Pharmaceutical exports.
Julie Underwood, Chamber international trade director said: “The 2018 trade statistics show clearly the huge potential of our exporting prowess which leads the country. It is testament to our global exporters, who achieve this even in these uncertain times.
“It is great to see growth over the quarter and year to the North American market. Over the last five years, the Chamber has looked to strengthen our transatlantic ties, with annual trade missions to Boston and a new mission to Atlanta next week, (18 March) supported by the Department for Trade and Industry.
“However, as the European Union continues to grow as our top trading partner we must be under no illusion the effect Brexit uncertainty is having on the global community. There was a clear slowdown in global trade in the second half of 2018, and that was reflected in these quarterly figures”.
Two North East businesses who trade with the United States are Rocket Medical and Bradley O’Mahoney.
Les Todd, Rocket Medical based in Washington said: “We have been trading with North America out of Boston for around 13 years and have an office and warehouse with four staff.
“We have established a small direct sales force across North America and continue to expand this as sales grow. Over the last financial year this increase has been substantial with a 40% increase and we are now shipping out a 40 ft container every two weeks.
“We are looking at in-house manufacture out in Boston to further support this growth with devices that contain controlled medicinal products. This next financial year we’re expecting to increase sales by a further 30 to 40% in the United States, by working with a specialist distributor in our niche market segment.
“Our business plan target was to increase worldwide export sales to 48% of our total turnover and this has now been exceeded primarily due to the USA sales growth.”
South Tyneside-based Bradley O’Mahoney was part of the Chamber’s Boston trade mission in December.
Sarah O’Mahoney, said: “As part of the trip I was delighted to meet with namesake, Jon Mahoney, executive from the highly influential Boston Irish Business Association (BIBA), who briefed me on the local business scene and opportunities to connect with companies we may wish to collaborate with. As a result of the meeting I am now joining a large delegation of companies in BIBA that are visiting Ireland at the end of this year.
“We also met with the Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh who spoke passionately about the city and its growing pharmaceutical and life-sciences sector.
“We were also joined by representatives of companies from the North East who had taken up the bold step of opening bases in the Boston area and they told us of the challenges they faced and the huge opportunities that await North East companies if they have products and services that meet the needs of the US market.
“It was a thoroughly enjoyable and informative event and I made great contacts not just with people in the US but also with those taking part in the mission, many of whom I am regularly in touch with. Indeed, we are now providing PR services to one of the companies on the mission.”