EU remains overwhelming largest market for UK manufacturers

By - World Infrastructure Journal

New analysis from Make UK and Santander has highlighted the importance of avoiding barriers to trade between the UK and the EU. The analysis found that manufacturing exports to the top six EU markets alone are worth around a third of total goods exports.

According to the new report: UK Manufacturing Facts, 2020/21, published by Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, and Santander UK, total global exports for the UK stood at £367 billion. While the US was the single largest importer of UK manufactured products, seven out of the top ten UK export markets are based in Europe, including Germany (2nd), France (3rd) and Ireland (4th). China, ranked fifth, was the only other top ten destinations for UK goods outside of Europe and the US.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive at Make UK, said: “While the United States presents significant opportunities for export growth, it is a fallacy to believe that geography is not the biggest factor driving trade. For UK manufacturers, access to their biggest market must be a premium. ”

Mr Phipson bases his beliefs on the fact that exports to the top six European markets – Germany, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium – were valued at £117.4 billion alone. Just under half (46 per cent) of all UK manufactured goods were exported to European countries combined, totalling £169 billion. The US was the single biggest export destination and saw a 19 per cent increase on last year, equating to £54.4 billion.

The research also revealed that the UK retained its position as the ninth leading manufacturer and tenth in terms of global exports with output totalling £191 billion in 2019, a growth of seven per cent over the last five years. The data also reveals that among the 2.7 million people employed by UK manufacturers, the average salary stands at £34,538 – 13 per cent higher than the average UK salary.

Transport manufacturers was found to be the largest exporters (22 per cent); food and drink remained the leading subsector for output (17 per cent) while transport also generated the most in terms of R&D (36.4 per cent). The data focused on the spend on R&D highlighted the critical importance of the automotive and aerospace sectors to the long-term high-value growth of the economy, despite the major impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has had these two sectors.

Paul Brooks, UK Head of Manufacturing, Santander UK, commented: “Our manufacturers have shown unyielding resilience over recent months. Retaining our position as the ninth leading manufacturer makes it clear that the UK is still a major player on the international stage, but we must not rest on our laurels.

“This data underlines the importance of prioritising manufacturing as the UK establishes new trading relationships with partners around the world. ”

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