[Skip to content]

Sign up for our daily newsletter
The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

EU the biggest export market for 61 out of 62 UK cities

Every British city other than Hull sells more of its exports to the EU than anywhere else in the world, according to a report by the think tank Centre for Cities released today.

Securing the best possible EU trade deal will be "critical" ©iStock
Securing the best possible EU trade deal will be "critical" ©iStock

Their Cities Outlook 2017 report also reveals that 46% of UK exports go to the EU market, three times more than the US, and five times more than India, Japan, Russia, South America and South Korea combined.

This underlines the importance of securing the best possible EU trade deal according to the think tank, with British cities potentially having to drastically increase trade with international markets to compensate for any downturns in exports to Europe.

“Securing the best possible EU trade deal will be critical for the prosperity of cities across Britain, and should be the government’s top priority as we prepare to leave the single market and potentially the customs union," Centre for Cities chief executive, Alexandra Jones, said.

“While it’s right to be ambitious about increasing exports to countries such as the US and China, the outcome of EU trade negotiations will have a much bigger impact on places and people up and down the country.

“It’s also important that the government aims to reach trade agreements covering as many sectors as possible, rather than prioritising deals for high-profile industries based in a small number of places.”

The top 10 UK cities most reliant on the EU market (2014) are:

Source: Centre for Cities
Source: Centre for Cities

This report comes as the findings from the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) International Trade Survey, also released today, show that 36% of businesses plan on putting more resources into exporting to the European market over the next five years.

Around three-quarters of respondents currently sell and source goods and services in the EU market, with 65% saying the referendum result has not changed their attitude towards importing.

BCC director general, Dr Adam Marshall, said: “These results are an important reminder of the fact that it is businesses that trade, not governments.

“Although the likely outcome of the Brexit negotiations remains unclear, businesses still see Europe as a primary market for both selling and sourcing inputs – even after the UK leaves the EU.

“Looking ahead, businesses want the best possible terms of trade following the Brexit negotiations, whatever the ultimate model adopted. UK firms want tariffs, costly non-tariff barriers, and product standards to be at the top of the government’s agenda for a future EU trade deal.”