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How Lincolnshire firms are thriving in the export market...

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 12, 2012

Journey: One Sky Aviation, based at Wickenby, are building Thruster aircraft. Pictured are production supervisor Philip Hoeft, right, and production engineer Daniel Couzens. Picture: Anna Draper

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From climbing frames in Russian playgrounds to peas on Dubai dining tables, Lincolnshire products can be found in every corner of the world. Latest research shows more county firms than ever before are now exporting. Ed Grover finds out more ahead of National Export Week...

Aircraft, marrowfat peas and antiques are some of the growing number of items sold to countries like Japan, Australia and Egypt.

According to a recent study, a quarter of companies in the county are now exporting their products, rising from around 15 per cent in 2009.

And UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) hopes there will be 8,000 more East Midlands businesses trading overseas by 2020.

Active markets include the Middle East, for engineering products, and the BRIC economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – for agricultural products, machinery and food.

Now, the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce hopes exports will grow to account for 30 per cent of the county's trade over the next five years.

One example of recent success is Hemswell Antique Centres, which has launched a Japanese language website after an explosion of interest from east Asia.

"The UK market is difficult at the moment while parts of the world are still experiencing growth," said managing director Robert Miller.

"Naturally, the global economy will continue to change and it's important that we don't put all of our eggs in one basket.

"Overseas business has become very important to us. We recently had buyers from as many as 20 different countries through our doors in one week."

The latest export figures were published in the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), produced by the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and the Lincolnshire Research Observatory.

One Sky Aviation, based at Wickenby Airfield, near Market Rasen, recently manufactured a Thruster microlight for a client in Australia.

"It's very good for us," said production supervisor Phil Hoeft.

"It may open doors for other people to buy from us there as the Thruster has a very good following in Australia."

The business has previously built aircraft for clients in Malta and Ireland.

One firm looking to export further afield is Ingham-based Plum Products, which hopes to sell its play equipment in Eastern Europe.

Caroline Webb, export sales manager, said: "Our outdoor play equipment is proving to be really popular with international customers – especially among customers and retailers based in Russia."

Lincat, based in Lincoln's Whisby Road, has shown there are good prospects for companies hoping to export their goods if they can offer specialist products.

The business sells catering equipment to a number of international markets.

Nick McDonald, marketing and export director, said the firm was continuing to trade well despite a difficult economy.

Find out about trading in Russia on Tuesday, November 27. Organised by Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Accessing New Markets will take place at Lincolnshire Showground's EPIC Centre between 9.30am and 3pm.

To book a place, email helen.tomkinson@lincs-chamber.co.uk or call 01522 523333.

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