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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 2020 data on UK trade with individual EU member states, as well as trade trends between 1999 and 2020.

Main points:

  • The EU, taken as a whole is the UK’s largest trading partner. In 2020, UK exports to the EU were £251 billion (42% of all UK exports). UK imports from the EU were £301 billion (50% of all UK imports).
  • UK trade with the EU fell dramatically in 2020 amid disruptions to international trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic – UK exports to the EU fell by 14% between 2019 and 2020, while imports fell by 19%. Over the same period, the value of all UK exports fell by 14% while the value of imports fell by 17%.
  • The share of UK exports accounted for by the EU has generally fallen over time from 54% in 2006 to 42% in 2020.
  • The share of UK imports accounted for by the EU fell from 58% in 2002 to 50% in 2020.
  • The UK had an overall trade deficit of -£49 billion with the EU in 2020. A surplus of £39 billion on trade in services was outweighed by a deficit of -£86 billion on trade in goods.
  • Northern Ireland followed by Wales and Yorkshire and Humber had the highest percentage of goods exports going to the EU of all the countries and regions in the UK in 2020. Northern Ireland followed by the East of England, had the highest proportion of goods imports from the EU.
  • Under the terms of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), the UK is no longer a member of the EU single market and customs union, though the provision of the TCA do not apply to trade in goods between the EU and Northern Ireland.  

Documents to download

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