UK exports continue to grow faster than imports, according to new figures, with food and drink produced in the South West leading the trend.
New figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the overall trade deficit has narrowed by £12.8bn from £41.6bn to £28.8bn.
And in the year to December 2017, exports of South West food and drink rose by eight percent to £810m, according to HMRC.
Best sellers overseas included seafood (£173m), dairy and eggs (£149m), and meat (£94m).
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have been supporting food and drink businesses in the region as part of Food is GREAT. The campaign is the UK Government’s cross department initiative to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to help firms to export.
As part of Defra and DIT’s support, in 2017 the government departments took a number of South West based companies to markets around the world on trade missions, including the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai and Gulfood in Dubai.
Paul Shand, regional director at the Department for International Trade in the South West, said:
“These latest figures highlight the first-hand experience of the many companies in the South West that are already feeling the benefits of increased global trade and finding success in overseas markets.
“We want firms to export their products and take advantage of the support available through DIT. We have 25 International Trade Advisers in the South West that can help businesses navigate the exporting process.”