Maintaining a continuous trade surplus against the U.S. last year was a major achievement for the British government, as Britain’s diplomatic and trade team have worked to maintain the edge and continue fostering trade with America and the world. But as Mr. Trump and Theresa May met, British products and expertise remained in demand in the U.S. and around the world.
From products such as Scotch whisky, British beef and chocolate, to services like legal and engineering, almost every category of exports performed above its year-earlier levels — with huge benefit for jobs in the global services sector.
Below, a summary of the supply side of the success story:
Whisky exports totalled £1.84 billion ($2.6 billion), a 10.5 percent rise over 2017.
UK beef exports jumped 13.1 percent to £953 million, again thanks in part to the pound’s weak currency and the ongoing beef shortage in parts of the U.S.
Combined food and drink exports surged by 11.6 percent to £20.7 billion, to a record high for a single year.
British engineering and design exports totalled £8.6 billion, increasing by nearly 10 percent.
Beyond this, exports to emerging markets saw strong growth.
Russia was the largest EU export market for Britain for the second consecutive year, with exports to that country growing by 4.9 percent.
UK government officials and companies have long stressed the importance of the relationship with Russia and free trade in the country, pointing to goods like motor vehicles and medicine as particular targeted sectors. But as the terror attacks and rising tension on the peninsula — including the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy — continue to agitate the relationship, the two countries are unable to sign trade deals.
Russia’s scandalous decision to suspend its participation in the 2022 ice hockey World Cup was the latest round of verbal barbs between Moscow and London, a relationship that has grown more strained in recent months.
British government officials and companies are proud of this growing trade surplus with Russia, and view it as an opportunity to build political capital for the future.