Europe remains the dominant market for UK goods

Make UK
(Nick Beer /

Newly published research by Make UK, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, and Santander finds that the dominant market for UK goods is still the EU, which boasts seven of the top UK export destinations. Anna Tobin reports

Europe remains the dominant market for UK goods with the value of trade going from the UK to the EU worth more than twice that of trade with the United States, according to UK Manufacturing: 2019/20 The Facts, the annual analysis of the manufacturing sector published by Make UK and Santander.

Although with a worth £118.2 billion, the United States is the single biggest export market for UK manufactured goods and services,  exports to the top seven EU markets amounted to £236.5 billion over the same period; and if you include Switzerland it’s £256.1 billion.

Transport, at 25.5%, dominates the UK’s manufacturing exports, followed by pharmaceuticals and chemicals at 17.9%. Transport also leads the way in export growth increasing by 7.4%; followed by food and drink, which increased exports by 5.3%.

 “These figures lay bare the overwhelming importance for manufacturers of trade with our closest market and the need to avoid imposing any barriers which will make this more difficult,” said Seamus Nevin, chief economist at Make UK. “Whilst the United States remains the biggest market and, 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.

“The figures also provide an important reminder that we’re still one of the top ten biggest manufacturing nations and we want to see policy makers working with industry to help move UK manufacturing up the rankings.”

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