Trade Patterns between the UK and the Rest of
- The UK is a highly open economy.
- A rising share of national output is exported overseas and a growing percentage of AD
is satisfied by imports of goods and services.
- The UK currently is the world’s fifth largest exporter of goods and the second largest
exporter of services.
- In terms of capital flows, Britain has the highest ratio of inward and outward investment
to GDP of any leading economy.
- Over time, the pattern and balance of trade in goods and services changes, reflecting
shifts in comparative advantage and movements in relative prices of traded products in
- The majority of UK trade in goods is with our partner countries within the European
The growth of trade with the EU has been encouraged by the Single Market which has led
to trade creation and trade diversion effects.
the United States remains the largest single economy with which the UK trades,
accounting for approximately 15% of total UK exports.
- Trade with oil exporting countries has fallen in relative importance over the last ten
years. This reflects the exploitation of North Sea Oil which reduced our dependence on oil
- The other significant change in the geographical pattern of trade between the UK and
the Rest of the World is an increasing share of trade with Newly Industrializing Countries
in Asia (for example Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand)
and in particular, the growing share of imports from this region.
- the UK is now a net importer of manufactured goods (our last trade surplus in
manufactured products was achieved in 1983),
- in several important industries, the UK still retains a significant position in international
markets and that we remain net exporters in these sectors e.g. oil, power generating
equipment, pharmaceuticals, telecoms equipment and scientific instruments and other
items of specialized machinery.