UK Major Trade Balances with America

Union Jack over London Bridge

Union Jack/London Bridge

The United States of America is the United Kingdom’s second-biggest trade partner trailing only the European Union. UK’s exports to the US totaled US$58.4 billion in 2017, down by -7% over the five-year period starting in 2013. The UK’s imports from America amounted to $60.8 billion, up by 11.6% over the same duration.

More concerning was the fact that the UK incurred a -$2.5 billion trade deficit from its product transactions with America during 2017 contrasted with the UK’s $8.3 billion trade surplus during 2013.

Year over year, Britain’s -$2.5 billion trade deficit with the US in 2017 also represents a reversal from the UK’s $4.5 billion in black ink at America’s expense US five years earlier.

UK Major Trade Balances with America

Surpluses

The following 10 leading products generated a surplus subtotal of $21.1 billion for the UK in its international trade with the United States during 2017. Metrics listed below highlight the UK’s strongest competitive advantages over the US in goods exchanged between the two trade partners.

  1. Cars: US$8.6 billion (down -138.8% since 2013)
  2. Blood fractions (including antisera): $3.3 billion (down -109.6%)
  3. Medication mixes in dosage: $2.0 billion (down -15.9%)
  4. Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs): $1576.8 million (up 12.5%)
  5. Hand-drawn paintings, drawings: $1191.5 million (down -18.9%)
  6. Processed petroleum oils: $1139.0 million (up 107.2%)
  7. Heterocyclics, nucleic acids: $970.7 million (down -22.4%)
  8. Miscellaneous heterocyclics: $520.3 million (up 5.1%)
  9. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $443.9 million (down -11.7%)
  10. Platinum (unwrought): $407.5 million (down -2.5%)

Top UK exports that produced the greatest surplus improvements were: processed petroleum oils (up 107.2%), alcohol including spirits and liqueurs (up 12.5%) and miscellaneous heterocyclics (up 5.1%).

Decliners were led by cars (down -138.8%), blood fractions including antisera (down -109.6%), heterocyclics and nucleic acids (down -22.4%) then hand-drawn paintings and drawings (down -18.9%).

Deficits

The 10 major products below accumulated a deficit subtotal of -$22.5 billion for the UK in its international trade with the US during 2017. The UK has demonstrated the severest competitive disadvantages compared to the US in the exports and imports of the following commodities.

  1. Turbo-jets: -US$9.1 billion (up 213.8% since 2013)
  2. Miscellaneous aircraft, spacecraft (e.g. helicopters, launchers): -$5.1 billion (Reversing a $196,000 surplus)
  3. Gold (unwrought): -$4.8 billion (up 130.5%)
  4. Crude oil: -$1.3 billion (Reversing a $2.5 billion surplus)
  5. Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust: -$819.1 million (up 21.6%)
  6. Precious metal waste, scrap: -$295.3 million (Reversing a $274.8 million surplus)
  7. Navigational instruments: -$285.7 million (down -2%)
  8. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: -$265.7 million (down -39.9%)
  9. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: -$249 million (up 2.1%)
  10. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: -$248.3 million (up 8.6%)

The strongest drivers for UK product deficits caused by the US from 2013 to 2017 were American: miscellaneous aircraft and spacecraft (reversing a $196,000 surplus five years earlier), crude oil (reversing a $2.5 billion surplus) and precious metal waste or scrap (reversing a $274.8 million surplus).

Exports

The following 10 UK exports were worth $29.8 billion or 51.1% of the total value of Great Britain’s exports to America in 2017.

  1. Cars: US$8.6 billion (up 5.9% since 2013)
  2. Blood fractions (including antisera): $4.1 billion (up 5.2%)
  3. Turbo-jets: $4 billion (down -2%)
  4. Medication mixes in dosage: $3.1 billion (up 0.4%)
  5. Processed petroleum oils: $2.2 billion (down -5.5%)
  6. Aircraft parts: $2.2 billion (up 3.8%)
  7. Hand-drawn paintings, drawings: $2 billion (down -0.2%)
  8. Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs): $1.8 billion (down -0.5%)
  9. Heterocyclics, nucleic acids: $1.1 billion (up 1.1%)
  10. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $663.5 million (up 0.5%)

The fastest-growing UK exports to the US since 2013 were: cars (up 5.9%), blood fractions including antisera (up 5.2%) and heterocyclics (up 1.1%).

Leading the decliners over the five-year period were processed petroleum oils (down -5.5%), turbo-jets (down -2%) and alcohol including spirits and liqueurs (down -0.5%).

Imports

Below are the 10 most lucrative commodities that Great Britain imported from America during 2017. Combined, these top imports represent over half (52.3%) of all UK imported products from the US.

  1. Turbo-jets: US$13.1 billion (up 6.7% since 2013)
  2. Miscellaneous aircraft, spacecraft (e.g. helicopters, launchers): $5.6 billion (up 9.1%)
  3. Gold (unwrought): $4.8 billion (up 5.2%)
  4. Aircraft parts: $1.9 billion (up 3.1%)
  5. Crude oil: $1.7 billion (up 2.8%)
  6. Medication mixes in dosage: $1.2 billion (down -0.3%)
  7. Processed petroleum oils: $1.1 billion (down -1%)
  8. Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust: $819.2 million (up 0.9%)
  9. Blood fractions (including antisera): $818 million (up 0.5%)
  10. Hand-drawn paintings, drawings: $788.9 million (down -1%)

The fastest-growing UK imports from America since 2013 were: miscellaneous aircraft and spacecraft (up 9.1%), turbo-jets (up 6.7%), unwrought gold (up 5.2%), aircraft parts (up 3.1%) and crude oil (up 2.8%).

Three of Britain’s top 10 imports from America declined in value from 2013 to 2017: refined petroleum oils (down -1%), hand-drawn paintings and drawings (down -1%), and medication mixes in dosage (down -0.3%).




 

See also United Kingdom’s Top 10 Imports, United Kingdom’s Top 10 Exports, United Kingdom’s Top Trading Partners, United Kingdom’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and European Union’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 17, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 17, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: World, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 17, 2018

Wikipedia, Economy of the United Kingdom. Accessed on February 17, 2018