The China-Britain Business Council’s core remit is to be a strong and effective advocate for equitable and sustainable UK-China economic engagement, supporting our Members and the wider business community with accessible, fact-based information and analysis. 

CBBC’s Public Affairs team produce regular up-to-date, evidence-based papers, reports and newsletters. 

If you want factual, timely and practical analysis and information, contact:


The UK’s policy towards China rightly sits at the forefront of our national debate for a variety of reasons. We at CBBC offer information about the UK-China economic and commercial relationship, which is updated regularly, and is used both as a resource for our Members and the wider public, and in the interest of stimulating discussion based on hard evidence and up-to-date information.

  • China is the UK’s 3rd largest goods trading partner, after the U.S. and Germany. It was the 6 th largest buyer of British goods exports in 2020, and our 2nd largest source of imports. 
  • The UK’s links to China via goods trade, tourism and education support an estimated 114,000 to 129,000 jobs across the country, according to 2020 research by Cambridge Econometrics. 
  • The UK’s goods exports to China fell by 42.3% year-on-year in 2020, to a total of £17.6 billion. While this was sharp drop, it was still a higher level of exports to China than in 2017. 
  • The UK’s services exports to China fell by 8% year-on-year in 2020, to a total of £5.1 billion. But this was still 22% higher than service exports in the same period in 2016. 
  • In 2020, the UK shipped 4.5% of its car exports, and nearly 5% of its power-generating machinery exports to China. • In 2020, exports of essential goods (excl. crude oil and gold) were up 2.3%, compared to a sharp drop in comparable exports to other major trading partners: USA (-18.2%), EU (-13.2%), Japan (-12.3%). 
  • In July 2021, UK goods exports to China valued £1.4 billion, while goods imports from China were worth £4.9 billion. Goods exports grew 8.3% YoY, whereas imports were up 1.8% YoY. In the first seven months of 2021, China was the UK’s 6 th largest export market for goods and the single largest source of imports. It remained our third largest trade partner for goods after the United States and Germany.