One in three UK manufacturing exports is thought to come from the UK overseas – but companies based here are still seen as the most innovative and have the highest standard of paying staff – according to the first National Manufacturing Awards.

The event – which celebrated excellence in manufacturing research and development, design, quality, knowledge transfer and support of overseas business and the supply chain – was held by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The manufacturing sector in the UK is in the midst of a period of renewed economic optimism after the post-Brexit vote boost from companies and the government since the European Union referendum in June.

British exporters reported back to a survey from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research that global trade fell by 0.5 per cent in the third quarter of last year.

The National Manufacturing Awards were led by the winners from the manufacturing institute research, design and development sector.

The winner of the innovation award for the UK’s most innovative manufacturer was Packitort Ltd, a Bristol-based purification company that makes digital refrigeration systems.

The supplier of the most innovative product award was Visit England, which is responsible for promoting the United Kingdom to overseas visitors, while the “best overseas partner” award went to Triton Steel Ltd.

The winner of the “best supplier support to overseas business” award was Arroyo Instrument, based in Swansea.

The ceremony was also graced by the guest of honour, Lord Baker, who has championed the manufacturing sector since he was a leading businessman, MP and foreign secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s government.

“At a time when global trade and investment are threatened by the looming world trade agreement with the European Union, the export market is a key area of export support and it has become central to the very lifeblood of the British economy,” Lord Baker said.