12 September, 2012 - 09:25 By Tony Quested

Germany ousts US as export hotspot

Cambridge and East of England businesses are exporting more goods and services to Germany than the United States for the first time since comprehensive records were kept in the UK.

The stunning turnaround was evidenced by Revenue & Customs figures to the end of June supplied to Business Weekly by UKTI for an export focus.

Remarkably given the Eurozeone’s travails, the US – which has always been the Cambridge cluster’s top trading partner – now finds itself improbably wedged between first-placed Germany and France in third, followed by Belgium and The Netherlands.

A mixture of technology and industrial products and services are heading out to Europe in greater volumes than ever from the East of England.

This region is one of only two in the whole of the UK – the South West is the other – where Germany, rather than the US is the top export location. In the South West the US is even relegated to third behind France.

China starts to figure in the heavier manufacturing regions, such as the Midlands and North West while Russia hits number three in the export hotspots for the North East.

There are more exporting businesses in the East of England, London and the South East than anywhere else in the UK so the North-South divide has widened to an all points of the compass faultline as far as international trade is concerned.

The BRIC countries have started to fulfil their promise as major export markets for Cambridge technology cluster companies, with China and Russia the fastest growing partners.

Brazil is a slower burner but India is also taking more and more goods from this region. Liz Basing, UKTI East regional director, tells Business Weekly that figures up to September 6 show East of England exports to non-EU markets up 18 per cent year-on-year.

Exports to India have grown by four per cent in the last quarter to £84m, with annual exports to the sub-continent worth £274m – a fifth of the UK’s entire exports to India.

Basing said: “The export picture for the region is very encouraging with total exports up almost eight per cent year on year. The figures are great news but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels.

“With UK exports to the EU suffering due to the current flat Eurozone economy, looking for markets further afield is now more than ever vital. BRIC countries, including India, can be perfect markets for many businesses in our region from within sectors like, education, engineering and ICT.

“The figures are very encouraging and demonstrate that India has many opportunities to offer so I would urge exporting companies looking to enter a new market to consider countries such as India.”

The Cambridge cluster would appear to have discovered the best of both worlds to secure global trade success – expanding exports to the wealthier nations in the EuroZone while maintaining a strong relationship with the States and exploiting the emerging BRIC economies.

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