China Trade Tracker Released | Issue 3 - May 2022
- The third quarter of 2021 saw UK exports to China rise by 1.2% compared with the same period the previous year, despite continued fluctuation as global trade continues to react to the ongoing pandemic
- Many UK regions are seeing Chinese exports grow YoY, with the devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in particular seeing strong growth
- Regional trends indicate that continued industrial investment and focus on China will continue to drive demand for UK expertise, particularly across healthcare, professional services and scientific instruments
The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) has today released analysis of trading relations between China and the UK over the third quarter of 2021.
There has been a marked a period of continued fluctuation as global trade continues to react to the ongoing pandemic but saw UK exports to China rise by 1.2% between July and September 2021 from the same period the previous year.
As the UK’s leading specialist voice on UK-China trade, CBBC anticipates that this growth will continue over the coming months as new market opportunities become available despite the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, re-emergence of lockdown in China and the UK’s cost-of-living crisis.
Across the UK this has been illustrated with many UK regions seeing Chinese exports grow year-on-year, with the devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland seeing strong growth.
Wales saw exports jump by 59.2% from the previous year, bettering its already strong 2021 Q2 figures. Power generating machinery (+101.1% YoY) witnessed increased Chinese demand, while exports of plastics and specialised machinery both quadrupled compared to the third quarter of 2020.
Scottish exports stabilised in the third quarter of 2021 at a value of £220 million (+49.7 increase YoY) as strong petroleum exports – which were virtually zero in the same period in 2020 – jumped back to £33.5 million. CBBC specialists believe that this trend is likely to continue as global fuel demands recover from disruption during Covid.
Whisky exports to China continued to show a strong increase and improved by 58.2% YoY alongside strong growth in the sea food sector.
Northern Ireland also continued to be among the biggest beneficiaries of Chinese demand, witnessing continuously robust export growth, and potentially benefiting from its special status in post-Brexit UK. Goods exports to China increased by 46.8% YoY in the third quarter of 2021, with dairy products (+1.619% YoY) and furniture (+458% YoY) being the main drivers of Northern Irish sales to China.
Capability in petroleum, road vehicles and power generating machinery remain among the most important sectors for UK-China trade, and while there was a decline in car exports for the West Midlands, demand is expected to recover over the coming months.
As a whole, regional trends indicate that continued industrial investment and focus on China will continue to drive demand for UK expertise, particularly across healthcare, professional services and scientific instruments.
Andrew Seaton, CBBC Chief Executive, said: “Despite a global challenge as a result of the ongoing pandemic, it is great to see that on the whole UK exports to China continue to rise. British businesses are increasingly taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the fast growing and dynamic Asian markets, and as the world faces further global uncertainty this is creating opportunity for UK markets.
“Our China Trade Tracker once again illustrates the opportunities for British companies to do business in, and with, the Chinese market. And highlights the importance of trade with China to the economies of the regions across the UK."
The China Trade Tracker was launched by CBBC in October 2021. It acts as an ‘always-on’ reference tool to provide the facts and analysis on the importance of UK trade with China, the world’s second largest economy – covering all regions of the UK.
Produced every quarter, this Tracker provides an overview of the impact of trade with China, with a summary of findings, and a UK region-by-region breakdown, so as to help inform businesses, commentators, and policy makers.
This issue provides an analysis of UK-China trade in 2021, the impact on the Q3 ’21 trade flows and the impact on each region across the UK.
It draws on Government, HMT, DIT and ONS data, compiled by CBBC's specialist analysts.
About the China-Britain Business Council
Representing some 400 businesses and organisations of all sizes and sectors, the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) is the UK’s leading organisation promoting trade, investment and education links with China, with the aim of protecting and securing industry, jobs and prosperity across all regions of the UK
Torsten Weller, CBBC
Torsten.Weller@cbbc.org | 020 7802 2006
CBBC Communications advisers
Phillipa Usher-Somers, 56˚ North
Philippa.Usher-Somers@56degreesnorth.co.uk | 07885 489 003