United Kingdom - Market OverviewUK Market Overview
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.
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On June 23, 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union. The government triggered the two-year exit process by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017. The UK is now negotiating with the EU on the terms of its leaving the EU and once this is agreed will negotiate its future trading relationship.
A general election was held on 8 June, 2017, which resulted in a hung parliament after the
Conservative Party failed to secure an overall majority in the House of Commons. This has weakened the government and will potentially hamper its efforts to secure a good deal with the EU and will make it harder to push through the legislation required to make Brexit happen in UK law.
Until March 2019, the UK will remain part of the EU and the single market.
The United Kingdom (estimated 2016 GDP of $2.7 trillion) has the fifth-largest economy in the world according to the CIA’s World Fact book, the second-largest economy in the European Union, and is a major international trading power.
While the United Kingdom is geographically relatively small (about the size of Oregon), it has a population of more than 64 million people.
Highly developed, sophisticated, and diversified, the UK market is the largest in Europe and the fifth largest in the world for U.S. goods exports. The United Kingdom is the largest market in the world for U.S. service exports.
With few trade barriers, the United Kingdom serves as the entry market into the European Union for more than 43,000 U.S. exporters. U.S. exports to the UK of goods and services combined were estimated to be worth about $121 billion in 2016.
Major categories of U.S. exports include Aerospace Products, Agricultural Products, Biomass, Cyber Security, Medical Equipment, New Build Civil Nuclear, certain consumer goods such as Pet Products, Smart Grids, Sustainable Construction and Travel & Tourism.
The United Kingdom remains the number one overseas market for travel to the United States with about 4.6 million UK travelers estimated to have visited the United States in 2016.
The U.S.-UK investment relationship is the largest in the world with cumulative bilateral stock in direct investment valued at more than $1 trillion in 2014. More than two million jobs, approximately one million in each country, have been created over the years to manage and drive this investment.
More than 7,500 U.S. firms have a presence in the United Kingdom which is also the top location in Europe for U.S. regional headquarters covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The UK economy grew by 1.8% in 2016, reflecting a uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote and what it will mean for the UK economy. The economy is expected to weaken slightly in 2017 as consumer confidence wakens due to rising inflation.
A major international financial, media, and transportation hub, London is also headquarters to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
United Kingdom Trade Development and Promotion