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Statistics on UK-EU trade

Published Friday, November 30, 2018

This note provides some basic statistics on the UK's trade with the EU.

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This note provides basic figures on UK trade with the EU. The attached Excel spreadsheet (see under Supporting documents) allows for easy access and presentation of detailed 2017 data on UK trade with indiviual EU member states, as well as trade trends between 1999 and 2017.

Main points:

  • The EU, taken as a whole is the UK’s largest trading partner. In 2017, UK exports to the EU were £274 billion (44% of all UK exports). UK imports from the EU were £341 billion (53% of all UK imports).
  • The share of UK exports accounted for by the EU has fallen over time from 55% in 2006 to 43% in 2016, increasing slightly to 44% in 2017.
  • The share of UK imports accounted for by the EU fell from 58% in 2002 to 51% in 2011 before increasing to 53% in 2017.
  • The UK had an overall trade deficit of -£67 billion with the EU in 2017. A surplus of £28 billion on trade in services was outweighed by a deficit of -£95 billion on trade in goods.
  • The UK had a trade surplus of £41 billion with non-EU countries. A surplus of £83 billion on trade in services outweighed a deficit of -£42 billion on trade in goods.
  • Services accounted for 40% of the UK’s exports to the EU in 2017. Financial services and other business services (a category which includes legal, accounting, advertising, research and development, architectural, engineering and other professional and technical services) are important categories of services exports to the EU – in 2017 these two service categories made up 52% of UK service exports to the EU.
  • Wales, followed by the North East of England had the highest percentage of goods exports going to the EU of all the countries and regions in the UK in 2017. The East of England followed by Northern Ireland had the joint highest proportion of goods imports from the EU.
  • EU tariffs are generally low but are high on some goods, especially agricultural products.






Commons Briefing papers CBP-7851

Author: Matthew Ward

Topic: International trade

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