UK exports reached £629.3 billion in the year to July 2018, according to the latest trade figures.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that demand for British goods and services is higher than ever. In the past 12 months, UK exports to the world rose by £30.9 billion - an increase of 5.2% compared to the same time last year.
Other headline statistics include:
- Exports in the UK's service sector were up 3.9% to a record high of £283.4 billion, increasing the service surplus to £117.1 billion;
- Goods exports rose by 6.2% to £345.9 billion;
- On a rolling annual basis, annual exports continue to grow faster than imports for the twelfth consecutive month, with the overall trade deficit narrowing by £13.8 billion in the year to July 2018.
The news comes after the launch of the Government's Export Strategy in August, which set out a new ambition to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP to 35%, making the UK one of the G7's most successful exporters.
International trade secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said: "As we open consultations for future trade relationships with key markets around the world, we're seeing the UK shift towards selling more than we buy, with exports increasing faster than imports. My international economic department will continue work with companies across the country to ensure they're making the most of global opportunities."
Separate figures released by the ONS in June showed that UK exports of goods and services to non-EU countries amounted to around £344 billion in the 12 months ending March 2018. Exports to EU countries were around £276 billion in the same period.
Overall, exports of goods and services to non-EU countries have nearly trebled since 2000, while exports of goods and services to EU countries have nearly doubled. The UK also operates a trade surplus of more than £40 billion with non-EU countries; this was a deficit as recently as 2010.
In 2017, eight out of the ten fastest growing markets for UK exports since 2010 were outside of the EU (figures include only countries with more than £1 billion in export value in 2017 and exclude Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar). Exports of services to the key non-EU markets of USA, China and Japan have all increased by more than 45% since 2010.