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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 2021 data on UK trade with individual EU member states, as well as trade trends between 1999 and 2021.

Main points:

  • The EU, taken as a whole is the UK’s largest trading partner. In 2021, UK exports to the EU were £267 billion (42% of all UK exports). UK imports from the EU were £292 billion (45% of all UK imports).
  • Disruptions to international trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic, combined with disruptions caused by the end of the Brexit transition period, saw the value of UK trade with the EU contract sharply between 2019 and 2020, before partially recovering between 2020 and 2021.
  • The share of UK exports accounted for by the EU has generally fallen over time from 54% in 2006 to 42% in 2021.
  • The share of UK imports accounted for by the EU fell from 58% in 2002 to 45% in 2021.
  • The UK had an overall trade deficit of -£25 billion with the EU in 2021. A surplus of £42 billion on trade in services was outweighed by a deficit of -£67 billion on trade in goods.
  • Northern Ireland followed by Wales 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 2021. Northern Ireland followed by the South 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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