China is now Britain’s sixth biggest export market

US, Germany, Netherlands, France and Ireland top UK business exports while more companies are trading with the UAE, South Korea, India and Poland

UK businesses now export more to China than Belgium and Luxembourg with exports to the country having grown by 12% in 2014 to £13.9bn, research by Santander Corporate & Commercial of ONS data has found.

China now ranks as Britain’s sixth biggest export market, with Ireland fifth then France, the Netherlands, Germany and the US – the UK’s biggest export market with £36.9bn worth of all UK exports.

Separately, British exports to Hong Kong have increased 11% to £6.3bn, resulting in a combined value of £20.1bn in 2014 for China and Hong Kong – more than France (£18.9bn) or the republic of Ireland (18.6bn).

The analysis also found that UK companies are trading with fast developing markets including £6.1bn worth of exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), £5.6bn to South Korea, £4.6bn to India and £3.8bn to Poland.

In addition, four new markets have entered the top 50 UK exports list in 2014 including Angola (£808m), Pakistan (£619m), Azerbijan (£602m) and Macedonia (£518).

John Carroll, ‎head of international at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said of the analysis: “International trading continues to be a key, strategic growth strategy for UK businesses as well as all stakeholders in the UK economy.

“It is important that businesses look to explore opportunities around exporting as, managed correctly, it can be hugely beneficial to their long-term growth aspirations.”

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