Successful year for trade and investment, says report

More businesses than ever are seeking expansion opportunities overseas, new research has revealed.

The report, published by the Department for International Trade, celebrates a “successful year for trade and investment”.

In total, the figures show that demand for UK goods and services overseas continued to grow, with exports in the year to October 2018 rising to £626 billion.

There has also been a “clear shift” in who UK businesses trade with, with 54.2 per cent of products now going to non-EU countries. This is compared to less than half of our exports 10 years ago.

It is no coincidence then, that GDP growth in the third quarter of 2018 was “significantly greater” than that of the Eurozone, at 0.6 per cent compared to 0.2 per cent. The UK economy has also grown consistently since 2010, increasing by 17.8 per cent.

Throughout 2018 the US continued to be the UK’s top export partner, with exports increasing to £114 billion in the year to October 2018.

Likewise, in the last 12 months, exports to ASEAN partners – some of the fastest growing economies in the world – increased by 10.4 per cent, suggesting that foreign investors are feeling more confident in placing their trust in UK companies. Correspondingly, the UK’s tech sector received over £5 billion in venture capitalist funding between June 2016 and June 2018 – more than France, Germany and Sweden combined.

Commenting on the report, International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said: “2018 has been a year to celebrate our successes in trade – with record highs in investment and exports. In a year where we launched our Export Strategy, our GDP continues to grow at a quicker rate than the Eurozone, and employment is at a rate we haven’t seen for more than 40 years.

“With exports reaching £626bn we look forward to 2019. Overseas trade will continue to play a crucial part in economic growth and my international economic department will do all it can to support UK businesses to expand their operations overseas.”

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