Make exports a priority, urges trade leader

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Clive Drinkwater, regional director of UK Trade & Investment North West, has urged companies to expand their horizons in 2014 and look to overseas markets as a way to boost trade.

He said every company should make it a New Year’s resolution to ensure that their business plans feature an international section, and urged the region’s businesses to benchmark themselves against competitors worldwide if they are to achieve their potential in 2014 and beyond.

Mr Drinkwater said: “We enter 2014 with strong signals of a recovering UK economy and with trade and investment playing its part, but not by enough. Our trade deficit in goods at the year end was the biggest ever and as a region we need to address this.

“Businesses that export are, on average, 34 per cent more productive, 75 per cent more innovative, undertake three times as much R&D and are 12.5 per cent more resilient than businesses that don’t.”

He added: “We need more exporters, we need more firms to look at opportunities in high growth emerging markets and we need to see more businesses investing in their technology, their people and their growth.”