British exports to Commonwealth reach 15-year high, new report finds

Wed 29 Jun 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Global Britain Commonwealth Trade

Britain’s exports to the Commonwealth, in the 12 months to April this year, hit £31.6bn – the highest level in 15 years.

The report comes as the UK government looks to boost its trade with non-EU markets and provide new opportunities abroad for British businesses.


Analysis by financial services firm Ebury found that exports to the 54-nation organisation were up 18% in the past year, taking Commonwealth trade above Britain’s trade with Germany (£31.1bn), the Netherlands (£30.3bn), and Ireland (£25.2bn).

City AM reports that imports from the Commonwealth are also booming, up 11% to £37.6bn which is the second highest in 15 years during the same period.

Global opportunities

Jack Sirett, head of dealing at Ebury, said the rises bucked a recent trend of Commonwealth trade plateauing and that businesses are adapting their international relationships because of Brexit.

“As a continuation of this trend, we expect to see growing goods’ trade between the UK and the Commonwealth as more free trade negotiations create additional clarity and hopefully bring reductions in tariffs and paperwork,” he said.

The report reveals that the UK’s top goods export partner in the Commonwealth was Canada (£6.3bn), and there was a 55% increase in the value of British goods exported to India (£5.5bn).

Expanding market

Baroness Scotland, the Commonwealth’s newly re-elected secretary general, told reporters, including Bloomberg, at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali that trade between members was worth $700bn and rising.

“We hope to be $2 trillion by 2030,” Lady Scotland said at the closing of the group’s first heads of government meeting since 2018.

Trade fuel

PM Boris Johnson also talked up the prospects of doing business with the Commonwealth, calling it a “super fertiliser” for growth.

After claiming that GDP in the Commonwealth is set to grow by 50% over the next five years, Johnson said the UK will continue to sign free trade agreements with fellow members to create more opportunities for traders.

Trade deals

Speaking about opportunities for UK exporters in the Commonwealth, DIT director of UK exports Paul McComb told an IOE&IT webinar that several of the UK’s post-Brexit trade agreements and negotiations have been with Commonwealth countries – including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and Singapore.

“We are definitely pursuing, the best we can, mutual trading arrangements between the UK and Commonwealth,” he said.

A poll found that 24% of delegates attending the webinar said that a lack of trade deals or preferential tariffs was the main obstacle to their doing more trade with the Commonwealth.