On the way up

Rupert Cox

Rupert Cox - Credit: sub

Export activity is at its highest level since 2007, with the South West leading the way, according to the latest DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index report.

Export figures have increased by more than six per cent in the region, compared with the first quarter of 2013, and by more than 10 per cent compared with a year ago, representing the highest annual increase in the country.

One Somerset firm reaping the rewards is Hilton Herbs, based in North Perrott near Crewkerne, which manufactures herbal and natural healthcare products for animals.

Hilton Herbs recognised that the UK market for animal supplements was saturated, so over the past five years the company has concentrated on finding new overseas customers for its products.

Production and Export Manager, Martin Brooks, says, “Exports continue to be a very positive area of our business.

“More companies need to have the confidence in their products to look for overseas customers. Once they find that confidence, they will start to realise their full export potential.”

Rupert Cox, CEO of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, says, “It’s encouraging to see that businesses across Somerset and the wider South West are making the most of the lucrative opportunities available through export.

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“As highlighted at the Somerset in Business Conference earlier this year, export activity is one of the fundamental ways in which we will re-balance the economy and there are handsome rewards available for those willing to expand into overseas markets.”

The Somerset Chamber helps identify and facilitate export opportunities for Somerset businesses through projects such as the forthcoming trade mission in October to the Guangdong Province in China and a proposed food and drink industry visit to the ANUGA food festival in Cologne.