UK trade is continuing to boom, highlighting a demand abroad for UK goods and services around the world.
According to December 2018 figures released by ONS UK Trade, our total trade last year was £1,291 billion, up 2.5 per cent from the previous year. Our imports were £661.7bn (up 3.1 per cent) with our exports totalling £629.4bn (up 1.9 per cent). For goods, our trade totalled £838.8bn (up 3 per cent) and our services were £452.3bn (up 1.7 per cent).
Despite Brexit, our trade with the EU grew by 11.5 per cent and grew by 8.6 per cent with the rest of the world, demonstrating the opportunities that await us once we are able to sign free trade deals with our friends and allies worldwide, as well as the importance of UK trade to the rest of EU.
The number of GB businesses exporting totalled 235,800, an increase of 6.6 per cent on the year before, with 9.9 per cent of all non-financial GB businesses exporting goods.
We are the 5th largest economy in terms of the flow of outward foreign direct investment, with £1,313.3bn being invested, and the 3rd largest in the world for inward FDI, at a total of £1,336.5bn.
Our largest trading partner remains the United States (total trade of £183.2bn), followed by Germany (£134.9bn), the Netherlands (£85.7bn), France (£81.4bn) and China (£67bn).
It is clear that, three years on from the result of the referendum when we voted to leave the EU, businesses and investors around the world continue to have confidence in the UK as a leading market, and I am confident that – whether we leave with or without a deal from the EU – the UK will continue to survive and thrive, competing on a global stage.