Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cameron Urged to Back Exports Drive; Region Looks to Capitalise on Strengths

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cameron Urged to Back Exports Drive; Region Looks to Capitalise on Strengths

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

DAVID Cameron will today be urged to back the North East's exporting strengths as business leaders from the region head to the CBI conference.

A delegation from the region will make clear to the Prime Minister, who is due to speak at the event, that he must offer more support to North East firms if he wants to see a pounds 20bn boost in the UK economy's exporting power by 2020.

The North East is one of the country's top performers for the number of firms successfully selling their products abroad, but even here, fewer than 3% of firms export goods. CBI leaders nationally say the UK should aim to match the European Union (EU) average of one in four small to medium-sized enterprises exporting by 2020, compared with the current one in five.

Ministers will be told all new legislation must pass a test to see what impact, if any, it will have on helping firms to export.

Other changes the CBI say are needed include a new focus on helping regional airports grow, including a reduction in the air passenger duty levied on flights.

In its report, the CBI cites the impact of Newcastle Airport securing the Emirates route from Newcastle to Dubai as an example of the moves the Government needs to be making easier.

The report says the route, and onward connections to numerous long-haul business centres, has significantly enhanced the competitiveness of the region. Trade between the North East and Australasia has tripled from just over pounds 100m in 2007, when the service started, to just under pounds 300m in the last 12 months. Among those heading to London as part of the delegation are Greggs director Ken McMeikan, chair of CBI North East.

He said: "The CBI report 'winning overseas' highlights the potential for the North East to grow its economy by building on our strong export credentials. …

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