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1 July, 2023 - 01:30 By Tony Quested

Region stars as UK exports to US soar and tech and life sciences could drive trade higher

The East of England has been identified as one of the UK’s most successful exporters of goods to the United States but trade chiefs believe opportunities may well increase further.

Two of this region’s strong suits – technology and life sciences – are in the top three UK markets from which America wishes to receive goods. Food & drink is the other and East of England businesses are strong here, too.

The United States was the UK’s largest commercial partner last year, accounting for 16.3 per cent of total UK trade.

The East of England is a net exporter to the US. Last year exports from this region hit £5.1 billion, 9.8 per cent of the UK total. Only the South East and London were higher – and not by much.

Medicinal and pharmaceutical products topped the goods exported to the US at £6.7bn. 

In terms of goods imported, the Eastern region took £3.7bn worth (6.3 per cent) – the sixth highest level of incoming goods from the US among the 12 regions (including Scotland) listed in government league tables.

While a mega trade deal with the US continues to elude the UK government as American President Joe Biden plays hardball, recent figures showed that total business in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and United States was £279.2 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022. That was a huge increase of 23.7 per cent, or £53.5 billion in current prices, from the four quarters to the end of Q4 2021.

Britain still exports more goods and services to the US than it imports, although the gap appears to be closing. Of the £279.2bn trade total, UK exports hit £168.3bn last year – an increase of 19 per cent or £26.9bn on the previous 12 months.

Total UK imports from the United States reached £110.8 billion – an increase of 31.6 per cent or £26.6bn year-on-year.

• PHOTOGRAPH: President Joe Biden. Official White House photo by Adam Schultz.

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