ACTION is needed to take the fear out of exporting, said North-East businesses leaders, as a new survey showed the benefit of overseas trade links.

The North East Chamber of Commerce International Trade survey showed that while the majority of firms have ambitions to grow domestically, less than half are looking to expand their business overseas.

Publsihed today, the report revealed that only 50 per cent of North-East exporters are trading with high-growth markets, such as Japan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan and Hungary.

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Lucy Humphreys, NECC policy adviser, said: “More must be done to take the fear out of exporting and promote the enormous potential that overseas markets offer.

“This survey backs up what we are also seeing in our own Quarterly Economic Surveys, that the businesses operating in exports markets are reaping the rewards with increased sales and orders, but we do need more businesses to explore foreign shores.

“If we are serious about rebalancing our economy, we must invest even more in supporting and promoting international trade.

"The UK should be matching the level of resourcing dedicated to export support provided by our major international competitors.

"Government intervention must be more focused in areas that can really make a difference, such as providing greater access to finance to growing firms – particularly when a quarter of non-exporters say that increased funding would encourage them to export."