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

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Supporting documents

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 2018 data on UK trade with indiviual EU member states, as well as trade trends between 1999 and 2018.

Main points:

  • The EU, taken as a whole is the UK’s largest trading partner. In 2018, UK exports to the EU were £291 billion (45% of all UK exports). UK imports from the EU were £357 billion (53% of all UK imports).
  • The share of UK exports accounted for by the EU has generally fallen over time from 55% in 2006 to 44% in 2016, though this increased slightly to 45% in 2018.
  • The share of UK imports accounted for by the EU fell from 58% in 2002 to 51% in 2010, though this has now been at 53% since 2014.
  • The UK had an overall trade deficit of -£66 billion with the EU in 2018. A surplus of £28 billion on trade in services was outweighed by a deficit of -£94 billion on trade in goods.
  • The UK had a trade surplus of £29 billion with non-EU countries. A surplus of £77 billion on trade in services outweighed a deficit of -£48 billion on trade in goods.
  • Services accounted for 41% of the UK’s exports to the EU in 2018. 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 2018 these two service categories made up just over half of of UK service exports to the EU.
  • Wales, followed by Northern Ireland and 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 2018. 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.

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Supporting documents