The government’s dream to make Britain an “exporting superpower” gets closer to reality as latest figures show spike in overseas trade
It’s hardly a secret Britain’s an import-addict. You need only look at how £318bn of goods were imported from the EU alone in 2016, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). But ever since 2000, the nation’s been increasing exports year-on-year and recently at a faster rate than imports. Now, an export spike has continued the narrative.
Britain’s exports jumped £33bn from 2017 after reaching £637bn this August, according to the ONS. Importantly, goods exports went up by 5.6% to reach £348bn while the UK’s highly desired service sector saw record exports worth £289bn in an increase of 5.3%. This not only means annual exports have been rising faster than imports for 13 months running but it’s even decreased Britain’s overall trade deficit by £14bn.
Moreover, the nation now boasts a trade surplus of over £40bn to non-EU countries – the same figure of which was a deficit as recently as 2010. In fact, service exports to top non-EU markets China, the US and Japan have risen by over 85% since 2010.
And things look good when it comes to exporting to the EU too, considering Britain’s goods and services have nearly doubled in sales to EU markets since 2000.
Commenting on the news, Liam Fox, international trade secretary, said: “As we prepare to leave the European Union, we’re seeing the UK shift towards selling more than we buy, with exports increasing faster than imports. My international economic department will continue to work with companies across the country to ensure they are able to thrive and make the most of global opportunities.”
The statistics certainly make the government’s Export Strategy, which envisages exports comprising 35% of GDP and placing Blighty as a top G7 exporter, seem promising. But above all, the figures show Brexit’s so far serving as a major incentive for the government and businesses to boost overseas trade rather than an inhibitor.