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Northern Ireland's 6% export growth rate outstrips rest of the UK

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland export growth is significantly outpacing the rest of the UK - up by 6% - figures have revealed. Sales to the US are additionally up by almost a third in the space of a year.

Overall exports from Northern Ireland were up 6% in the 12 months to September, based on the same period a year earlier. They rose from £6.99bn to £7.41bn, according to the latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The total annual value of UK exports increased by 0.2% to £280bn during the same timeframe.

Overall, exports in Northern Ireland outpaced Scotland, where the rate decreased by 7.3%, while England and Wales only saw modest rises overall. While US exports rose by around 30%, sales to the EU were also up here - rising by 4% during the same period.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: "The latest results from the HMRC, which show a 6% increase on a rolling 12-month period, are extremely welcome".

"This is particularly encouraging, given that once again we are the leading region of the UK in terms of export growth, and with only marginal growth of 0.2% across the UK as a whole being reported.

"I commend our local businesses as they have embraced the Executive's focus on exports by expanding into new markets and developing existing relationships further.

"I am convinced that this continued export performance demonstrates that we are on the right path to establishing Northern Ireland as a truly globally competitive economy.

"I want to build on this firm foundation of strong export performance, and that is why I recently launched the trade accelerator and a new international trade plan, both of which will help exporters take full advantage of opportunities in external markets."

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