Goods manufactured and imported
The UK is one of the leading trading nations in the world. It is the second largest exporter and third largest importer of commercial services, and the eighth largest exporter and fifth largest importer of merchandise (Source: World Trade Organization, 2005).
Leading destinations for UK products and services include:
- the USA (15 per cent of all exports),
- Germany (11.6 per cent) and
- France (9.8 per cent).
Exports to the European Union as a whole accounted for around 58 per cent of all UK exports (Source: ONS, The Pink Book, 2005).
Exports of goods and services - $468.8 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Products: manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco.
The chemical industry is Britain's largest export earner. British Petroleum (BP) is Britain's biggest industrial company.UK pharmaceutical companies make three of the world's best selling medicines: 'Zantac' (made by Glaxo Wellcome) for ulcer treatment; 'Tenormin' (ICI), a beta-blocker for high blood pressure; and 'AZT' (Glaxo Wellcome), a drug used in the treatment of AIDs.Britain is also a major supplier of machinery, vehicles, aerospace products, electrical and electronic equipment. Britain is responsible for 10 per cent of the world's export of services, including banking, insurance, stockbroking, consultancy and computer programming.
Export Partners (2006):
Imports of goods and services - $603 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Products: manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, foodstuffs. Food, beverages and tobacco account for half of non-manufactured imports, whilst machinery and road vehicles account for two-thirds of finished imported manufactures. Other major imports include chemicals, fuels, clothing and footwear.
Import Partners (2006):
coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
Find out more about Britain's Natural resources
During the 19th century Britain used to have many coal and iron mines and had the natural resources to make textiles, steel and ships. Today, coal and textiles can be produced more cheaply in other countries and so many British factories and mines have closed.
A disused tin mine
Areas like south Wales, central Scotland, the north of England (the Midlands, Merseyside, Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle) and London were important industrial centres.
Find out more about mines in Britain
Economy in Britain
Click to find out about the industries in Britain
See Britain at work
Industries in each area of England