Value of Northern Ireland exports climbs 4.4% to hit record £9bn
Exports of goods from Northern Ireland hit a record high of £9bn in the most recent financial year, according to the latest Government data.
HMRC said the province had recorded four consecutive years of goods export growth, more than any other UK nation.
Goods exports increased by 4.4% during 2018-19 to reach the record high.
There was also a growing number of Northern Ireland firms selling overseas.
HMRC said that 6,098 businesses from here exported during the first quarter of 2019 - a rise of 223 on the same period last year.
The growth was in part driven by demand for Northern Ireland goods in Latin America and the Caribbean, with local goods exported to the region surging by 27.8% to £115m between April 2018 and March 2019.
Among the companies enjoying overseas success is Crossgar-based Rademon Estate Distillery, which makes the Shortcross Gin brand.
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Established in 2012 by husband-and-wife team Fiona and David Boyd-Armstrong as a whiskey distillery, it launched Shortcross Gin two years later. It became the first gin to be distilled in Northern Ireland. Rademon is now selling its gin in Australia and Canada.
"Exports are fundamental to the success of our business," said Fiona Boyd-Armstrong.
"We are seeing growing demand in the US, Australia, the Middle East and across Europe. If we can break into new international markets, then there's no reason why other Northern Irish businesses can't do the same."
Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox said: "I am delighted that goods exports from Northern Ireland have boasted particularly impressive growth rates over the past financial year, which is a consequence of the outstanding quality of produce across the region.
"When local businesses trade internationally, they provide profound economic benefits to the local economy, including more jobs and cheaper goods.
"By diversifying their markets globally, businesses can benefit from increased competitiveness, which encourages greater innovation and prosperity."