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Britain moves up global manufacturing rankings despite Brexit uncertainty

Joseph Flaig

(Credit: Drazen_/ iStock)
(Credit: Drazen_/ iStock)

The UK’s manufacturing sector has grown to become the eighth largest in the world despite uncertainty around Brexit.

Figures published by manufacturers’ organisation EEF and bank Santander show that Britain moved up from ninth in annual global rankings, with an output worth $249 billion.

The bodies claimed manufacturing “will increasingly provide Britain’s link to the world” after Brexit. The sector currently accounts for 44% of total UK exports.

The largest individual manufacturing sector is food and drink, at 16% of the total, followed by chemicals and pharmaceuticals and transport, which both account for 14%.

The North West remains the biggest regional powerhouse, producing over £24 billion of output, followed by the strong aerospace and automotive areas of the West- and East Midlands, on £17.5 billion and £15.9 billion respectively.

With Brexit drawing closer and many key policy decisions still yet to be made, EU markets still dominate for exports, accounting for 48% of manufactured exports in the second quarter this year. The biggest single export destination is the U.S., followed by Germany and France.

“It is really encouraging to see that the UK is now the 8th largest manufacturer by output in the world,” said Paul Brooks, head of manufacturing at Santander corporate and commercial. “With strong manufacturing figures reported from across the country, it is crucial that we continue to support manufacturers in all regions of the UK.”

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