Region’s SMEs rank third in UK global trade

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Yorkshire and Humber are more likely to trade internationally when compared to other regions in the UK.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by Citrix, found 43 per cent of the region’s small businesses are exporting to global customers.

Yorkshire and Humber’s SMEs ranked third for international sales behind London and the South East, where 59 per cent and 47 per cent of businesses export abroad.

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The region was ahead of Scotland, where 42 per cent of SMEs said they had customers abroad. In the North West this fell to 37 per cent, while the South West (35 per cent), Wales (28 per cent) and the North East (26 per cent) were least likely to export.

Andrew Millard, senior director of international marketing, at Citrix, said the statistics show which regions will be “primarily driving” the increase in global trade for SMEs.

“As expected London trades the most internationally but other regions are seeing big gains - Yorkshire and Humber and the South East are also leading the way along with the capital when it comes to global exports.

“Emerging markets have an appetite to buy products made in Britain, which shows the importance of continued investment in the UK manufacturing industry.”

Yorkshire and Humber is “one of our most important regions” for manufacturing and construction, he added.

Despite strong export performance, SMEs in Yorkshire and Humber were slightly more likely to buy from abroad than sell (45 per cent vs 43 per cent).

Over a third (34 per cent) of SMEs in the region expect their international trade to grow in the next two years, placing Yorkshire and Humber second only to the capital, where 39 per cent of SMEs said the same.

The South West, North East and Wales were the least likely to expect global business growth.

Four out of 10 (42 per cent) of SMEs in Yorkshire and Humber said international business would be important to them in two years’ time.

Top barriers to international trade include not having relevant services or products for an international market, lacking the appropriate resources to develop global trade and not having a local presence in non-domestic markets, the research found.