Make UK/Santander analysis confirms Europe remains dominant market for UK
17 Sep 2019
Europe remains the main focus for UK goods, despite the fact that the USA is the largest single national export market for this country.
The annual UK Manufacturing report published by manufacturers’ organisation Make UK with Santande confirms the continued dominance of the continent, underlining the importance of Britain agreeing a deal with the EU that avoids barriers to trade, said the authors.
While the United States is the single biggest export market for UK manufactured goods and services, worth £118.2 billion, this is just half the value of exports to the top seven EU markets alone which amounted to £236.5 billion in the same period.
When Switzerland – a non-EU member state – is added, the figure for Europe tops more than £256 billion.
Manufactured goods exports overall are led by transport (25.5%) and for the process industries pharmaceuticals and chemicals as a combined sector takes second place (17.9%). These two sectors also accounted for almost 70% of the total business R&D spending.
The analysis shows that manufacturing remains central to the success of the economy overall, accounting for two thirds of overall R&D, 45% of exports, 15% of business investment and 2.7 million high value jobs
Make UK added that the survey overturns the “myth” that manufacturing jobs are badly paid with the average salary in manufacturing of £33,592, compared to £29,832 for the whole economy and way above services at £29,014.
With annual output of £192 billion, the UK remains the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world.
By size, food and drink remains the single biggest sector – contributing 15.1% of gross value added, or roughly £73.1 billion, with pharmaceuticals and chemicals providing a 14.2% share worth £68.7 billion.
The North West is the biggest single region by output, worth £28.5 billion. It is closely followed by London and the South East, both worth £28.1 billion.
Seamus Nevin, chief economist at Make UK, commented:
“These figures lay bare the overwhelming importance for manufacturers of trade with our closest market and the need to avoid imposing any barriers which will make this more difficult.
“Whilst the United States remains the biggest market and, presents significant opportunities for export growth, it is a fallacy to believe that geography is not the biggest factor driving trade. For UK manufacturers access to their biggest market must be a premium.”