China now UK’s biggest import market
For the first time, China has become the UK’s biggest single import market, overtaking Germany.
Goods imported from China rose 66% from the start of 2018 to £16.9bn ($24bn) in the first quarter of 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Imports from Germany fell by a quarter to £12.5bn in the same period.
The pandemic produced a surge in demand for Chinese goods, especially textiles used for face masks and other personal protective equipment, as well as electrical goods.
The ONS report found that German imports to the UK had fallen since April 2019, amid uncertainty over the details of Britain’s exit from the EU.
Despite a 23.1% fall in total trade with European Union countries as a whole in the period, the EU remains the UK’s biggest trading partner.