Trading Partner Portal: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is a unitary state composed by the countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The UK is a part of the European Union and partakes in EU economic policy, although it maintains the pound (£) as its national currency, instead of adopting the euro (€).
Two-way trade between the United States and the United Kingdom was $132.33 billion in 2019 and was the fifth largest importer of US goods with a total value of $69.15 billion. Top exports to the UK were transportation equipment, making up 19%, followed by primary metal manufacturing, chemicals, and coil and gas. The U.S. imported $63.18 billion from the UK in 2019. Transportation equipment accounted for 26.9% of the total, followed by chemicals, non-electrical machinery, and reimports. (U.S. Department of Commerce)
The United Kingdom is California’s 12th largest export destination, with over $5.2 billion in exports. Computer and electronic products accounted for approximately 25% of exports – more than $1.3 billion. Transportation equipment brought in $797 million, or 15.1%; while both second-hand merchandise and chemicals accounted for 11% and 8.6%, respectively.
In 2019, imports into California from the United Kingdom were approximately $6.16 billion, with the top categories being transportation equipment, which made up almost 50% of the total, followed by computer/electronic products, used or secondhand merchandise, and reimports.
Per the US Department of Commerce, the U.S.-UK investment relationship is the largest in the world, valued at over $1 trillion in 2016 and creating over two million jobs, about one million in each country.
The UK is the entry market into the European Union for over 41,000 U.S. exporters. Annual U.S. exports to the UK are valued at more than $100 billion.
British investment is key in the US. Over a million Americans go to work every day for British companies. Similarly, one million Brits go to work for America companies every day. British investment is specifically vast in California where it supports approximately 90,000 jobs in our state. (British Consulate General – SF, 2012)
UK FDI into the U.S. in 2018 totaled $597.2 billion, while FDI from the U.S. into the UK totaled $757.78 billion. US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
UK was the number one largest source of FDI in the U.S. in 2018. UK FDI in the US contributed $8.8 billion to research and development and an additional $42.3 billion to expanding US exports. In 2017, there were 1,222,400 US workers who were employed by the U.S. affiliates of majority UK owned firms. The top industry sectors for British FDI in the US are: business services, software and IT services, financial services, communications, industrial equipment, and textiles. (Select USA)
In California, the number two country for FDI through foreign-owned enterprises (FOEs) is the United Kingdom. British FOEs in California provide over 111,430 jobs through 2,433 firms amounting to $9.44 billion in wages. The top jobs by sector are: professional/business services, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation/warehousing/utilities, and retail trade (World Trade Center Los Angeles FDI Report, May 2020).
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UK – US Free Trade Agreement
UK Department of International Trade, February 2020
United States-United Kingdom Negotiations: Summary of Specific Negotiating Objectives
U.S. Trade Representative, February 2019
Administration Announces Intent to Open Trade Talks with EU, UK, Japan
CalChamber, October 18, 2018
The Ideal U.S.-U.K. Free Trade Agreement: A Free Trader’s Perspective
CATO Institute, September 18, 2018
The United States and the United Kingdom held the third meeting of the U.S.-UK Trade and Investment Working Group on March 21-22 and the inaugural meeting of the new U.S.-UK Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Dialogue on March 20.
The Working Group, established in July 2017, works to deepen current trade and investment ties between the two nations and is laying the groundwork for a potential, future free trade agreement once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The Working Group discussions covered a range of topics, including industrial and agricultural goods; services, investment, intellectual property rights and enforcement; regulatory issues related to trade; and small and medium-sized enterprises
The inaugural meeting of the SME Dialogue brought together more than 100 U.S. and UK SMEs with government officials from both countries to discuss ways to deepen trade and investment and enhance SME cooperation, identify resources currently available from both governments to assist SMEs, and hear from SMEs on their specific challenges and opportunities when trading bilaterally. At the Dialogue, the U.S. and UK governments jointly released the guide to Doing Business in the U.S. and UK: Resources for Small Business as a key tool for SMEs seeking to benefit from U.S.-UK trade.
Priorities for a New EU-UK Economic Partnership
US Chamber of Commerce US-UK Business Council, September 2017
UK-US Trade and Investment Highlights
Gov.UK, March 2017
Brexit Explained: What’s Next on the UK’s Road Out of the EU
The Sacramento Bee, March 14, 2017
CalChamber Issues Statement on Brexit Vote
According to a February 2019 report by Visit California, 720,000 people visited California from the UK in 2017, spending approximately $1.03 billion, which is an average of $1,433 per visitor. Los Angeles and San Francisco were the top 2 destinations in the U.S. for tourists from the UK, followed by Las Vegas.
UK Market Profile
(April 25, 2019) Brexit is the latest phenomenon in the western world presently characterized by shock and schism, a leading scholar explained yesterday at the California Chamber of Commerce.
“Brexit is the most profound crisis that Europe has had since the end of the Second World War,” Dr. Matt Beech, senior fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, told nearly 100 guests at the CalChamber International Luncheon Forum. The luncheon was sponsored by Suburban Water Systems, a CalChamber member.
Dr. Beech provided attendees with an analysis of the potential implications for the United States and specifically, trade in California, with Britain’s potential withdrawal from the European Union.
Meeting with New British Consul General
(November 3, 2016) Today, CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg and Vice President of International Affairs Susanne Stirling met with Andrew Whittaker, the new British Consul General based in San Francisco.
British Consul General Priya Guha Provides European Trade Insight to Californian Business Leaders
(December 4, 2015) CalChamber Council for International Trade hosts International Breakfast Friday, December 4, featuring British Consul General Priya Guha and GO-Biz Deputy Director of International Affairs Brian Peck. Consul General Guha provided insight on California relations with the U.K. and Europe, as well as information about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Brian Peck gave a brief update on the international activities of GO-Biz. Alert Story
CalChamber Hosts New British Consul General
(January 19, 2012) Trade and investment were among the topics of discussion when the CalChamber hosted a meeting with the new consul general of the United Kingdom. Consul General Priya Guha was appointed to San Francisco in August 2011. She has responsibility for a seven-state area consisting of Northern California, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Northern Nevada.
London’s Lord Mayor Addresses CalChamber
(August 7, 2003) Alderman Gavyn Arthur, the Right Honorable Lord Mayor of the City of London, speaks at a California Chamber International Luncheon Forum about London’s position at the core of international finance, globalization, European Union-U.S. trade, corporate governance and the Euro.
British Ambassador Meets with CalChamber President
(December 4, 2003) Sir David Manning, appointed as the British ambassador to the United States on September 2, visited with California Chamber President Allan Zaremberg yesterday as part of a stop in Sacramento to meet with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state leaders. Topics raised during the meeting between the Ambassador and Zaremberg included the current political and economic climate in California, trade relations between Great Britain and the United States, and the considerable British investment in California and its significance to the state’s economy.
Key Country Contacts
- UK ParliamentLive.TV
- British-American Chamber in California
- British Consul in California
- BritainUSA (British Embassy)
- Guide to Investing in the UK
- Welsh Government SF
- International Trade FAQs
- U.S. Commercial Service UK
- British Chambers of Commerce
- UK Trade and Investment
- British American Trade & Investment Guide 2015/16 Edition
- British American Business
- Confederation of British Industry
- Department of Business Innovation and Skills
- Department for International Development
- East London: Tech City Investment Organisation TCIO
- Scottish Development International