Manufacturers must continue to look overseas for sales if they are to survive the current economic downturn, according to Black Country Chamber of Commerce.
While manufacturing sales in the UK have been slowing for some time, many businesses in the area have maintained output and found success by selling their products in international markets, buoyed by the weakening pound and falling commodity prices.
Now Chamber president Peter Mathews is urging the government to continue supporting these firms as a way of bolstering the UK economy.
He said: “Our most recent Quarterly Economic Survey highlighted the importance of international trade. In this quarter, 71 per cent of Black Country manufacturers reported that export sales had remained constant or increased, with 57 per cent reporting that export orders had remained constant or increased.
“Exporters have been helped by the falling pound and the expansion of European and Middle Eastern markets, as well as the recent downward trend in oil and commodity prices, which will ultimately lead to a reduction in raw material costs.”
Mr Mathews said generalisations about the manufacturing sector had to be avoided, claiming that the current downturn was not caused by manufacturing, but by the finance sector.
He said that those firms struggling should receive proper support in order to withstand the economic decline.
However, he said others had been able to respond to the worsening economic climate and were confident about their prospects.
“Manufacturing is the backbone of the UK economy and the Black Country is a strong player within that, and I’m confident our work ethic and resourcefulness will give us a competitive edge,” he said.
“We will continue to urge the government to implement the measures to help businesses with their cash flow.”