Press release

Fox: no doom and gloom as goods exports boom across UK

Every part of the UK has seen their goods exports increase thanks to increasing global opportunities, new data shows.

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The positive analysis released by HMRC today (Thursday, 7 June) found the number of VAT-registered businesses exporting goods in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is at 109,000 – a rise of 4.1% from the previous year.

The figures also reveal:

  • exports of goods from England increased by 6.5% to £244.6 billion
  • in Scotland, goods exports increased by 12.1% to £28.8 billion
  • in Wales, goods exports increased by 7.1% to £16.4 billion
  • in Northern Ireland, goods exports increased by 4.9% to £8.5 billion

In the first months of 2018, the average value of goods exported per exporter was £750,000.

Businesses were also taking advantage of global interest as the number exporting to non-EU countries rose to over 47,000. The most popular non-EU destinations include the USA, that 19.2% of exporters sold goods to, Australia (7.3%) and Switzerland (7.2%).

Comparing the year to the previous year, the growth in goods exports came from regions across the UK with the East Midlands seeing the greatest rise in the value of exports (up 15.2%) followed by Scotland (12.1%) and South West (8.8%).

The latest figures are a further boost to the country as global e-commerce giant Amazon announces it will create more than 2,500 jobs in the UK this year as it remains committed to expanding in a post-Brexit Britain.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

As we continue our path to Brexit, HMRC’s latest figures clearly show every part of the UK making the most of global opportunities as goods exports rise across the country. More than 100,000 businesses are expanding their horizons and making the most of the demand for quality British goods.

For some, this isn’t the end of the road but the start to their exporting journey. As they grow their networks and create jobs and prosperity across the UK, my international economic department is supporting them through our experienced international trade advisers and Exporting is GREAT campaign.

Separate figures released by the Department for International Trade today highlight British businesses feeling that UK exports are set to remain on an ever-growing upward curve as the UK leaves the European Union.

The National Survey of Registered Businesses (NSRB) 2017, published by the Department for International Trade (DIT) surveyed 3,000 businesses from across the UK.

It found:

  • nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses with an annual turnover of £500,000 or more said they believed that there is strong demand for British good and services from around the world (up from 68% in 2015)
  • almost half (47%) of all UK businesses believe that the value of UK exports will continue to grow over the next 5 years, more than double the amount who thought the opposite
  • nearly two thirds (63%) of businesses with an annual turnover of £500,000 or more businesses agreed that significantly more businesses could export be exporting (up from 55% in 2016)
  • as the Department prepares to launch its Export Strategy, as many as 130,000 companies have made use of DIT’s export support offer

The statistics showcase a change in attitude amongst some businesses to a position where they are increasingly interested in exporting and in the benefits that come with overseas sales.

DIT is looking to capitalise on this with its upcoming Export Strategy by setting out a clear offer to businesses of all sizes, no matter which stage of the export process they are currently operating at.

Further information

  • The HMRC figures on number of exporters focus on Q1 2018 (January to March) and the comparison to Q1 2017 (January to March). HMRC figures on values of exports compare the year to Q1 2018 with the year to Q1 2017.

  • In the UK in 2018, there were 20,963 businesses exporting goods to the USA, the most of any destination. The USA was the top destination in each region of England and in Wales and Scotland (it was 2nd in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland was 1st), in terms of number of goods exporters.

The top 5 for Midlands Engine were:

  1. USA (3,309)
  2. Ireland (2,446)
  3. Germany (2,370)
  4. France (2,158)
  5. Netherlands (2,063)

The top 5 for the Northern Powerhouse were:

  1. USA (3,621)
  2. Ireland (2,834)
  3. Germany (2,627)
  4. France (2,490)
  5. Netherlands (2,401)

View the National Survey of Registered Businesses (NSRB) 2017.

Published 7 June 2018