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North East manufacturers urged to tap global markets

Date 9 Jul 2007
Author The Editor

North East manufacturers have been urged to look at the wider opportunities and challenges globalisation offers, according to a study released last week. The joint report, prepared by manufacturers’ organization EEF and BDO Stoy Hayward, provides analysis of where low cost economies are heading and what this will mean for UK manufacturers. It highlights the fact that China and other emerging economies have clear ambitions to move up the value chain and are investing in skills, science and infrastructure to meet these goals.

Alan Hall, EEF Northern Director, said: "In recent years, China has been the destination of choice for many firms seeking to relocate manufacturing or other production functions. There are clear advantages in this choice, but firms need to realise that this is very much a moving target and also not overlook other opportunities elsewhere. Firms must also realise that China is not content to remain the workshop of the world and is developing its own research, innovation and design capabilities."

Neill Rayland, partner and head of manufacturing at BDO Stoy Hayward in Leeds agreed: "Manufacturers face a wide range of challenges and opportunities as a result of the rapid pace of globalisation. “What is clear from this report is that there is still considerable untapped potential in low cost economies – potential which UK firms have the capability to unlock."

According to the report, the fact that UK firms have historically relied on European and North American markets for export growth means that they may have been slower to tap into these new and emerging markets. The report also warns that the rapid pace of globalisation means that firms should not ignore the range of competitive threats and opportunities that will continue to emerge.

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