How do cities trade with the world?

As Britain prepares to leave the EU, attention will turn to what trade deals it can strike with other countries around the world. These deals will have different implications for different parts of the country. Using new data released by the ONS, this report sets out how much cities export, what they export, and crucially given the current political situation, where they export to.


Cities account for 64 per cent of all of Britain’s exports.

The EU is by far the largest export market for every British city with 45 per cent of city exports being sent to the bloc.

Despite the size of other markets such as the US, these remain much smaller than that of the EU, which is more than three times larger than the USA and more than 20 times larger than China.

While exports are often thought of in terms of goods, services account for 57% of all city exports and they may face barriers in a goods-only customs arrangement.

Cities in the Greater South East tend to perform much better than those in the North and Midlands, and this tends to be driven by their strength in service exports.

Edinburgh, Cardiff and London are among the cities exporting the most services to the EU.

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