UK’s Major EU Exports

Brexit conceptual (courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Brexit conceptual (Pixabay)

The United Kingdom exported US$209.7 billion worth of goods to European Union members during 2017 or 47.4% of UK’s global exports total. That dollar amount also reflects an 8.3% improvement in UK-to-EU international sales from 2016 to 2017 but a -10.9% deterioration from $235.4 billion in 2013.

In comparison, total UK exports to all trade partners worldwide shrank at a faster average pace down -19.3% from 2013 and increased at the slower average annual rate of 7.4% from 2016 to 2017.

Over those same timelines, imported goods into Britain from European Union suppliers accelerated in value by 3% year over year to $340.7 billion in 2017 but fell by a modest -2.5% over the 5-year period starting in 2013.

The UK’s exports to the EU during the first 9 months of 2018 came in at $171.6 billion–on track for an estimated $228.8 billion projected for all of 2018.

To give some demographics context, the United Kingdom’s population was 65.1 million at July 2018 or 12.6% of the European Union’s total 516,195,432 residents.

United Kingdom’s Major Exports to the European Union

Exports

The following exported products garnered the highest dollar value from the UK’s shipments to the EU during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export represents in terms of EU-bound exports from the UK.

Please note that the list is sorted in descending order, and is at the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level thus giving more detail on what products were actually shipped to the EU than category-level.

  1. Cars: US$17.1 billion (down -0.4% since 2016)
  2. Crude oil: $11.9 billion (up 29.9%)
  3. Medication mixes in dosage: $11 billion (down -0.2%)
  4. Aircraft parts: $10.4 billion (up 9.5%)
  5. Processed petroleum oils: $6.8 billion (up 23.9%)
  6. Automobile parts/accessories: $4.6 billion (up 4.1%)
  7. Turbo-jets: $4 billion (up 78.2%)
  8. Blood fractions (including antisera): $3.9 billion (up 10.5%)
  9. Petroleum gases: $3.2 billion (up 22.6%)
  10. Phone system devices: $3 billion (up 9.7%)
  11. Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs): $2.5 billion (up 7.9%)
  12. Computers, optical readers: $2.4 billion (down -4.9%)
  13. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1.7 billion (up 2.6%)
  14. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $1.7 billion (up 88.2%)
  15. Platinum (unwrought): $1.5 billion (up 78.7%)
  16. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $1.3 billion (up 4.1%)
  17. Engines (diesel): $1.3 billion (up 8%)
  18. Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations: $1.3 billion (up 8.8%)
  19. Women’s clothing (not knit or crochet): $1.2 billion (up 5.4%)
  20. Acyclic hydrocarbons: $1.2 billion (up 31.3%)

These 20 major exported goods accounted for 43.8% of all UK shipments to the EU in 2017.

Diamonds was the fastest-growing among UK’s top exports to the EU, up by 88.2% since 2016.

In second place for improving export sales was platinum which appreciated by 78.7% followed by turbo-jets.

Three major exports from the UK to the EU declined in value from 2016 to 2017 namely computers including optical readers (down -4.9%), cars (down -0.4%) and medication mixed in dosage (down -0.2%).

EU Customers

EU Trade Partners for UK Exports

The following list shows the US-dollar value of UK exported goods bought by member countries of the European Union during 2017. Shown within brackets is the percentage value for each country based on total UK sales to the EU.

  1. Germany: US$46.7 billion (22.3% of UK exports to EU)
  2. France: $30.4 billion (14.5%)
  3. Netherlands: $27.6 billion (13.2%)
  4. Ireland: $25.1 billion (12%)
  5. Belgium: $17.8 billion (8.5%)
  6. Spain: $13.5 billion (6.4%)
  7. Italy: $13.2 billion (6.3%)
  8. Sweden: $6.8 billion (3.3%)
  9. Poland: $6.4 billion (3.1%)
  10. Denmark: $3.5 billion (1.7%)
  11. Czech Republic: $2.7 billion (1.3%)
  12. Austria: $2.4 billion (1.2%)
  13. Portugal: $2 billion (1%)
  14. Hungary: $1.9 billion (0.9%)
  15. Finland: $1.8 billion (0.84%)
  16. Romania: $1.6 billion (0.76%)
  17. Greece: $1.3 billion (0.61%)
  18. Slovakia: $776.3 million (0.37%)
  19. Lithuania: $714.3 million (0.34%)
  20. Malta: $658.7 million (0.31%)
  21. Bulgaria: $587.1 million (0.28%)
  22. Cyprus: $489.6 million (0.23%)
  23. Latvia: $456.3 million (0.22%)
  24. Slovenia: $351.3 million (0.17%)
  25. Luxembourg: $342.4 million (0.16%)
  26. Estonia: $325.8 million (0.16%)
  27. Croatia: $245.1 million (0.12%)

The fastest-growing EU importers of products shipped from the UK from 2016 to 2017 were Lithuania (up 61.7%), Latvia (up 42.5%), Malta (up 24.3%), Luxembourg (up 20.9%) then France (up 14.9%).

Four EU trade partners reduced their purchases of UK exports year over year, namely Bulgaria (down -12.3%), Czech Republic (down -5.1%), Finland (down -2.4%) and Austria (down -0.9%).

Advantages

The following types of UK product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus via its transactions with EU members in 2017. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Crude oil: US$11.8 billion (up 29% since 2016)
  2. Aircraft parts: $8.6 billion (up 13.6%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $1.9 billion (up 33.4%)
  4. Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs): $1.8 billion (up 10.6%)
  5. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $1.3 billion (up 172.6%)
  6. Acyclic hydrocarbons: $1 billion (up 28.5%)
  7. Platinum (unwrought): $867.2 million (up 60.2%)
  8. Printed books, brochures: $610 million (up 5.3%)
  9. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $471.9 million (up 25.3%)
  10. Piston engines: $470 million (up 86.3%)

The United Kingdom has highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil with EU members. In turn, these cashflows indicate UK’s strongest competitive advantage is for crude oil ahead of aircraft parts.

Opportunities

The United Kingdom incurred a -$131 billion product trade deficit trading with EU countries in 2017. That dollar amount compares with UK’s -$199.3 billion in red ink for overall worldwide trade.

Below are exported goods from the UK to the EU that resulted in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits in 2017. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country UK’s goods trail its importer spending on products bought from EU members.

  1. Cars: -US$21.5 billion (down -6% since 2016)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: -$8 billion (down -0.1%)
  3. Trucks: -$5 billion (down -4%)
  4. Blood fractions (including antisera): -$5 billion (down -2.4%)
  5. Phone system devices including smartphones: -$4.7 billion (down -2.4%)
  6. Computers, optical readers: -$3.9 billion (up 23.5%)
  7. Medication mixes not in dosage: -$3.6 billion (up 65.1%)
  8. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$3.3 billion (down -30.5%)
  9. Wine: -$2.5 billion (down -1.8%)
  10. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: -$2.1 billion (up 10.1%)

The UK posted negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for cars, a relatively costly product.


 



 

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

Research Sources:
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on December 3, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on December 3, 2018

The World Factbook, Europe: European Union. Accessed on December 3, 2018

Wikipedia, European Union. Accessed on December 3, 2018