UK trade set to grow in the Asia Pacific and South America

If you are new to exporting or looking for new markets, where are the UK’s existing and emerging trade opportunities?

To help answer these questions, we commissioned research in collaboration with Global Trade Review (GTR), to gain more insight into the role of imports and exports in the UK today.  It revealed some interesting insights:

  • The UK economy is highly dependent on trade. Data from the IMF shows that trade accounts for 58% of UK GDP.  This makes the UK economy one of the most open in the G20, and more open than China, America and Japan.  
  • In 2016, the UK exported goods worth US$433.5bn and imported goods worth US$678.1bn.
  • The UK’s fastest growing export partners are dominated by countries in Asia Pacific with three in the top five. Europe and the Middle East also rank with one each.

(fastest growing)


Growth rate a year to 2021

Value in 2017

Project growth
(value US$)












Saudi Arabia





Hong Kong





South Korea









  • Exports to these five countries were worth US$71bn last year. The projected growth means that these markets could generate an extra US$2.1bn a year for UK exports. 
  • The fastest growing market is Asia Pacific, where exports are expected to grow at 3% a year to 2021. South America, where UK exports are expected to grow by around 0.5% annually until 2021, is the second fastest growth region.

As we can see, trade, both importing or exporting, is essential to our economy. We can also see where the growth markets are.

But more than these headline economic figures, trade is important because it creates jobs.  It has helped to contribute to the UK’s record employment levels, providing financial security for millions of families up and down the country.

However, in order for businesses to continue to succeed, they need working capital.  It is only by providing better access to funding that we can support businesses to trade, grow and create jobs.

To read more about the research, please see our UK trade briefing report:   

This research was initially published in our UK trade briefing 2018 report, on which this blog and the data within is based.  The sources for the research include the United Nations, Eurostat, the OECD and customs and excise data as well as UK Office of National Statistics data.

The information in this article is not the opinion of Wyelands Bank but based on the research commissioned and data provided by Global Trade Review in March 2018


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