UK goods exports grew at the “second fastest rate” of the top five major economies between 2017 and 2018, a new report has revealed.
The Department for International Trade (DIT), which published the figures, said UK exports have continued to grow “despite a challenging global outlook”.
Against a backdrop of Brexit and tensions between major trading partners, the latest international trade statistics for 2018 show that the UK is the second fastest growing goods exporter among the top five economics – behind China, but ahead of the US, Japan and Germany.
In total, British exports grew by 2.7 per cent to £636 billion, while UK good exports grew by 3.1 per cent to £10.6 billion in the year to January 2019.
Commenting on the figures, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said 2018 was “challenging” for the global trading environment.
In the last 12 months alone, the UK has felt the impact of trade tensions between the USA and China, a significant slowing of growth in the Chinese economy, the value of the pound decreasing and political and business uncertainty spurred on by inconclusive Brexit negotiations.
Despite this, the most recent figures demonstrate the “fundamental strength of the British economy”, said Mr Fox.
“Goods exports in particular performed well, rising faster than all of the top five largest economies except China in 2018 – yet further evidence of the massive demand for British products.
“We are seeing many of our trading partners, particularly in the Eurozone, struggle to cope with external economic pressures, so maintaining an upward trend in this climate reinforces that message that Britain is open for business.”
He added: “My international economic department is focused on growing exports and boosting the UK economy through our Export Strategy, providing stability as we leave the European Union and putting the UK at the heart of the world’s fastest growing markets through an independent trade policy. These priorities are key to Britain’s economic future.”
The IMF forecasts from the January 2019 update outlook are available to see here.
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