British trade exports have defied expectations by hitting a record high of £616 billion as international trade secretary Liam Fox works on securing post-Brexit bilateral agreements with some of the world’s largest economies.
Official figures showed that 55 percent of exports were to nations outside of the European Union (EU) in 2017, with almost a fifth of sales going to the United States, according to the Department for International Trade, established following Britain’s vote to Leave the European Union.
Overall, exports of goods rose by 13 percent to £339 billion, with services increasing to £277 billion (seven percent).
The figures also revealed that the trade deficit between the United Kingdom and non-EU countries was shrinking, decreasing by £5 billion compared to the year before, amounting £25.8 billion.
The U.S. — the world’s largest economy — remained Britain’s top export market, buying over £112 billion worth of goods and services, representing an increase of 8 percent.
Exports to the world’s second-largest economy, China, increased by 29 percent between 2016 and 2017 to £22 billion, making the Far East country — which has a population of some 1.4 billion people — Britain’s sixth largest trading partner.
International Trade secretary Liam Fox said of the statistics: “British goods remain in global demand as exports to non-EU countries continue to grow… It shows the confidence the world has in our goods and is important as 90 percent of global trade will come from outside EU.
“As an international economic department, we have a dynamic and experienced team who will negotiate free trade deals and make a success of Brexit.
“We’re also supporting UK businesses in exporting more and talking to international businesses on why we should be the top destination for investment through our GREAT campaign.”
Clean Brexit Most Likely Outcome for UK, Says International Trade Secretary https://t.co/rrRYYwk4gw
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 5, 2018
Dr Fox has recently returned from a nine-day trip to drum up post-Brexit trade deals, flying to Washington, D.C., then to San Francisco, and onwards to Japan.
The Brexiteer trade minister said that Britain is moving ahead with plans to negotiate a free trade deal with the U.S. as soon as it leaves the EU and that the government and business leaders of Japan — the world’s third-largest economy — were among the “most positive” in discussions with a mutual free trade deal.
On Sunday, Dr Fox said that the chance of a clean Brexit and leaving the EU without a deal — with the UK free to make its own trade deals and deal with the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules — was now the most likely outcome.
Fox blamed the “intransigence” and “ideological purity” of the European Commission and its chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier for holding up the process of building a mutually beneficial relationship with the bloc.
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