The latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs shows that non-EU exports now accounts for 57% of exports from the East Midlands, which is defined as Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincoln, Leicestershire and Northampton.
The figures show that the rate of growth in the region has slowed but it is still more than £500m ahead of where we were at this time last year. Singapore is now the third most popular destination for goods produced in the East Midlands, with Rolls-Royce in Derby winning a number of contracts there.
Small and medium-sized businesses received a boost in the Autumn Statement that announced a £1.5bn export credit facility for overseas companies buying British goods and an extra £70m for UK Trade and Investment.
Peter Hogarth, regional director for UK Trade & Investment East Midlands, commented that £30m of this has been dedicated to the GREAT campaign that started ahead of the Olympics.
“This will enable us to deliver an ambitious package of support designed to get more SMEs exporting, help UK companies access the highest value trade opportunities and reinforce the UK as the location of choice for Europe-bound investors,” said Mr Hogarth.
Exports to the EU are down by £455m but sales to Asia and Oceania are up by £500m, making up and topping up the fall in trade within the eurozone.
Despite this, Armadillo Merino, based in Duffield, Derbyshire, has just clinched an order worth over £25,000 to supply its protective clothing to the Italian navy.
Managing director Andy Caughey came up with the idea for the specialist clothing when he witnessed the horrific skin burns on soldiers that had been wearing synthetic base layers in explosions.
Having worked with wool and textiles all his life, Mr Caughey created base layers from merino wool, a naturally flame resistant product that helps protect the wearer.
He created the range of tops and leggings, made from super-fine merino wool, ideal for professionals exposed to extreme weather or at risk of fire or burns.
Their new order will add to their existing orders to supply European policemen, and international special forces units.
Caughey said that despite the product only being launched in 2011, it is “already making waves across the world,” and expects more sales to come.