The Brexit clock is ticking. In March 2019, Britain will be out of the European Union, and it now has less than two years to negotiate the terms of its departure.
Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, had wanted ‘divorce’ and trade talks to take place simultaneously, but the EU has insisted on seeing good progress on the exit deal first.
Without an exact start date for the Brexit trade talks, we’ll have to wait some time to get a clearer idea of what the UK’s future trade relations with the EU will be.
What we do know is that the UK is a major trading partner for the rest of the EU. In 2016, around 44% of the UK’s exports in goods and services went to other EU countries in 2016, while 53% of imports into the UK came from other countries within the bloc.
Only two of the UK’s top 10 trading partners – the US and China – are outside of Europe.
So what about each European country’s top import and export partners?
Who trades with who?
Within Europe, Germany is the top import partner for the majority of countries, including the UK. The only European nation to import more from the UK than any other country is Ireland.
According to CIA World Factbook data, 14.8% of the UK’s imports in 2015 came from Germany, 9.8% from China, 9.2% from the US, 7.5% from the Netherlands, 5.8% from France, and 5% from Belgium.
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Like Germany, the UK exports more to the US than any other country. In 2015, 14.6% of the UK’s total exports went stateside.
Germany is the UK’s second biggest market for exports at 10.1%, followed by Switzerland at 7%, China at 6%, France at 5.9%, the Netherlands at 5.8%, and Ireland at 5.5%.
Post-Brexit trade talks
The EU trade talks are just the start, however. Post-Brexit, the UK will have to re-negotiate agreements with the bloc’s trading partners. That’s over 50 countries.