Visualizing the UK and EU Trade Relationship

With Brexit solidified and a new trade deal having been struck between the UK and the EU, it appears that a sense of normalcy has returned to the European continent.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the two entities came into effect on January 1st, 2021, corresponding with the UK officially leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union on the same day. The new deal will help the status quo of trade continue, but how important is trade between the EU and the UK?

This visualization, using data from the British House of Commons’ Statistics on UK-EU Trade Briefing Paper, reveals the significance of trade between the UK and EU member states.

Who Does the UK Trade With in the EU?

The EU is the UK’s biggest global trading partner, representing 47% of the country’s total trade.

To break it down further, the EU is the buyer of 42.6% of the UK’s total exports, while also being the source of 51.8% of their total imports. Here’s a closer look at exports and imports by country.

Country % of UK’s Exports to the EU % of UK Imports from the EU
🇩🇪 Germany 18.9% 20.9%
🇳🇱 Netherlands 14.2% 13.8%
🇫🇷 France 13.7% 12.1%
🇮🇪 Ireland 13.6% 8.0%
🇮🇹 Italy 6.9% 6.8%
🇪🇸 Spain 6.8% 8.6%
🇧🇪 Belgium 6.1% 7.7%
🇸🇪 Sweden 3.4% 3.3%
🇵🇱 Poland 2.6% 3.9%
🇩🇰 Denmark 2.2% 2.2%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg 1.8% 1.0%
🇦🇹 Austria 1.1% 1.4%
🇨🇿 Czech Repbulic 1.1% 1.8%
🇫🇮 Finland 1.1% 0.8%
🇵🇹 Portugal 1.1% 1.5%
🇬🇷 Greece 0.9% 1.0%
🇷🇴 Romania 0.9% 1.1%
🇭🇺 Hungary 0.7% 1.3%
🇲🇹 Malta 0.7% 0.2%
🇨🇾 Cyprus 0.6% 0.3%
🇸🇰 Slovakia 0.5% 0.9%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria 0.3% 0.4%
🇱🇹 Lithuania 0.3% 0.4%
🇱🇻 Latvia 0.2% 0.3%
🇸🇮 Slovenia 0.2% 0.1%
🇭🇷 Croatia 0.1% 0.2%
🇪🇪 Estonia 0.1% 0.1%
🇪🇺 Total EU 28 100% 100%

The UK’s biggest trading partners within the EU are Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. Germany comes in at number one, making up nearly 21% of the UK’s imports and receiving almost 19% of the country’s exports.

Here’s a breakdown of the trade balances between the UK and the individual EU member states.

U.S. Presidential Voting History from 1976-2020 (Animated Map)

What’s in the Bag?

In any trade relationship, it’s also worth examining what types of products and services are switching hands.

Top Imports

The UK’s top three goods imports from the EU (in terms of percentage of total imports) are:

  • Motor vehicles (18%)
  • Pharmaceuticals (7%)
  • Electric machinery and appliances (4%)

Without the new agreement, goods would face tariffs based on the World Trade Organization’s standards. For example, motor vehicles, would have an average tariff of 10% imposed on them, without the provisions of the agreement.

The UK’s top three service imports from the EU are:

  • Travel (33%)
  • Business services (27%)
  • Transportation (18%)

Looking at services, the main import from the EU is travel, followed closely by business services and transportation. Travel makes the top three, as many countries in the EU make attractive vacation spots for UK citizens.

Top Exports

The UK’s top three goods exports to the EU (in terms of percentage of total exports to the EU) are:

  • Petroleum and petroleum products (12%)
  • Motor vehicles (10%)
  • Transport equipment (6%)

In terms of exports, petroleum is the UK’s largest export to the EU, representing 68% of the country’s total petroleum exports.

The UK’s top three service exports to the EU are:

  • Business services (33%)
  • Financial services (21%)
  • Travel (14%)

The main service export is business services, such as accounting, legal, advertising, R&D, engineering, and so on. Travel to the UK is a significant revenue generator as London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

EU vs. Global Trade

The UK’s relationship with other countries has remained steady. China is one of the country’s most important export destinations, growing 7% per year from 2010-2019.

At the same time, the UK’s exports to the United States have grown just over 4% per year over the same period, continuing to increase at a similar rate up to 2030.

uk trade with eu

While the UK currently has a £79 billion ($108 billion) trade deficit with the EU, they have a surplus of £49 billion ($67 billion) with non-EU countries. Additionally, the share of the UK’s exports going to the EU has been consistently falling over the last number of years. Foreign direct investment flows between the two entities have also been drastically reduced.

However, the UK and EU trade relationship is still highly intertwined and significant. Not only are the two connected through intangible flows but physically as well via pipelines, transport highways, and cables. In a typical year, 210 million passengers and 230 million tonnes of cargo are transported between the two entities.

The TCA will help to regulate these flows and continue a sense of status quo, however, it’s worth noting that if EU regulations are not met, tariffs could be imposed.

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently determined risk and resilience factors for different UK industries based on the agreement. The report found that the food & agriculture, automotive, and financial services industries are most at risk, due to interconnected supply chains and the risk of tariffs being imposed. The life sciences and tech industries stand to do the best.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement

Overall, Brexit has had significant ramifications for all nations involved. Ireland, for example, is now geographically cut off from the EU, creating potential obstacles for both the movement of people and goods.

Now, after years of discussions, the UK and the EU have finally agreed to the terms for their new relationship, with a focus on sustainable trade, citizens’ security, and governance for long-standing cooperation, in order to guarantee a level playing field. The TCA has helped ease the transition, and while they’re no longer in a union, the UK and the EU have created a strong base for trade to continue normally.

Subscribe to Visual Capitalist

Thank you!

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!

Please provide a valid email address.

Please complete the CAPTCHA.

Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.

 

How to Use: The below maps will animate automatically. To pause, move your cursor on the image. Arrows on left/right navigate.

  • Voting History

Animated gif version

 

 

U.S. Presidential Voting History by State

After a tumultuous election, all states have now certified their 2020 presidential voting results. Which states changed party allegiance, and how do the results compare to previous years?

In this graphic, we use data from the U.S. National Archives and the MIT Election Data and Science Lab to show U.S. presidential voting history by state since 1976.

Note: this post has been updated on January 19, 2021 to reflect the latest data.

Each State’s Winning Party

To calculate the winning ratio, we divided the votes for the state’s winning party by the total number of state votes. Here’s another look at the same data, visualized in a different way.

Voting History

This graphic was inspired by this Reddit post.

As the voting history shows, some states—such as Alaska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming—have consistently supported the Republican Party. On the other hand, Hawaii, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia have been Democrat strongholds for many decades.

The District of Columbia (D.C.) is a federal district, and is not part of any U.S. State. Its population is urban and has a large percentage of Black and college-educated citizens, all of which are groups that tend to identify as Democrat.

Swing states typically see a close contest between Democrats and Republicans. For example, Florida’s average margin of victory for presidential candidates has been just 2.7% since 1996. It’s often seen as a key battleground, and for good reason: the state has 29 electoral college votes, meaning it has a high weighting in the final outcome.

Memorable Election Years

Within U.S. presidential voting history, some election results stand out more than others. In 1984, President Reagan was re-elected in a landslide victory, winning 49 out of 50 states. The remarkable win has been credited to the economic recovery during Reagan’s first term, Reagan’s charisma, and voters’ opposition to the Democrat’s planned tax increases.

In 1992, self-made Texas billionaire Ross Perot ran as a third-party candidate. He captured almost 19% of the popular vote, the highest percentage of any third-party presidential candidate in over 80 years. While he gained support from those looking for a change from traditional party politics, Bill Clinton ultimately went on to win the election.

Most recently, the 2020 election had a record voter turnout, with 66.3% of the eligible population casting a ballot. There was also a record number of mail-in ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This led to widespread allegations of voter fraud, with President Trump and his allies filing 62 lawsuits seeking to overturn election results. In the end, 61 of the lawsuits were defeated and congress confirmed Joe Biden’s victory.

Voting History of Swing States

Both Trump and Biden focused on battleground states in 2020, but where were they successful? Here are nine of the swing states, and their voting history over the last two elections.

2020 Winning Ratio 2020 Margin of Victory 2016 Winning Ratio 2016 Margin of Victory
Arizona 49.4% Democrat 0.31% 48.7% Republican 3.60%
Florida 51.2% Republican 3.36% 49.0% Republican 1.20%
Georgia 49.5% Democrat 0.24% 50.8% Republican 5.20%
Iowa 53.2% Republican 8.20% 51.2% Republican 9.40%
Michigan 50.6% Democrat 2.78% 47.5% Republican 0.20%
North Carolina 50.1% Republican 1.35% 49.8% Republican 3.60%
Ohio 53.3% Republican 8.03% 51.7% Republican 8.10%
Pennsylvania 50.0% Democrat 1.16% 48.9% Republican 0.70%
Wisconsin 49.5% Democrat 0.63% 47.2% Republican 0.70%

The Republican party won four of the swing states in 2020, including Florida. However, 2020 was the first year since 1964 that the candidate who won Florida did not go on to win the election.

Five of the states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—flipped allegiance to the Democrats. In Georgia, the margin of victory was as small as 0.24% or about 12,000 votes. Ultimately, winning over these states helped lead to a Biden victory.

 

Source: U.S. Presidential Voting History from 1976-2020 (Animated Map)