Exports jump 4.7% as firms target emerging markets
Exports from Northern Ireland are up, with £1.48bn worth of goods leaving our shores between April and June this year, and a 4.7% increase in annual export growth.
Figures from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs showed that the amount had risen from £1.43bn during the first three months of the year.
Total exports for the year to the end of June 2014 were £5.9bn, set against £5.7bn from the previous year.
The Republic of Ireland, USA, Canada, France and Germany are the region's major export partners.
Exports to the Republic increased the most, and there was a large rise in the shipping of transport equipment.
Simon George, Northern Ireland commercial director for HSBC bank, said the figures showed the strides Northern Irish companies had made in establishing their export proposition around the globe.
"The 4.7% increase in annual export growth was driven by a rebound in exports to the EU," Mr George added.
"However, it is important the country looks for balanced exports growth, particularly to emerging markets.
"Emerging markets are developing at a phenomenal pace and are set to reshape world trade patterns over the next 20 years.
"By expanding their operations in to new, higher-value sectors, they are driving more developed nations to specialise and diversify to compete.
"Working with these countries could be critical for UK businesses who want to remain competitive in the future and could help support the future of the economy.
"UK businesses have so much to offer emerging countries through their specialist skills, products and services, and now is the time to start tapping into these opportunities."
Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, said that the figures were encouraging, but that more needed to be done.
"It's great that we see a rise in the value of exports, but we need an increase in the number of companies exporting," she added.
"We are still heavily reliant on a small number of large companies, when many more companies, large or small, deserve to get their foot on the export ladder."
Among our biggest exporters is the Canadian-based planemaker Bombardier, which has a large presence in Belfast.