Home News Features Compliance

🕒 Article read time: 2 minutes

UK trade finds new markets as it continues its recovery, ONS figures show

Official trade figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that imports from non-EU countries have outstripped those from EU countries for the first time on record.

The first quarter of 2021 (January to March) is the first since records began in January 1997 that imports of goods from countries outside the EU have eclipsed those from inside the trade bloc, as trade begins to normalise following the end of the EU transition period.

“The significant point about this latest set of figures from the ONS,” said Ryan Barnett, Economics and Research Manager, Logistics UK, “is that it points to the UK looking to diversify the markets from which it imports goods.”

Other main points from the ONS report included the news that exports of goods to the EU, excluding precious metals, increased by £1 billion in March, while imports of goods grew by £0.8 billion. Both increases were primarily driven by the automotive sector.

Outside of the EU, the numbers were even more encouraging, with imports of goods from non-EU countries, excluding precious metals, increasing by £1.5 billion (8.4%), mainly driven by imports of clothing. Exports of goods to non-EU countries, excluding precious metals, increased by almost a tenth (9.9%). As with exports to EU countries, this growth was mainly driven by exports of cars.

Meanwhile the UK’s total trade deficit, excluding precious metals, narrowed by £8.4bn to £1.4bn, in the first quarter of this year.

“Some commentators have taken the figures for March 2021 as evidence that the UK economy is gathering speed, after shrinking in the first quarter of the year,” Barnett said. “While it may be too early to conclude that from one month’s set of figures alone, the numbers do look promising for UK trade, and certainly a good deal better than initially feared.”


Published On: 20/05/2021 17:00:19


In brief


To help those responsible for the maintenance of fleets of all sizes, Logistics UK’s Fleet Engineer Conference returns for 2021, taking place on 7 September 2021 at the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire. The one-day event will provide delegates with opportunities to hear about the very latest developments in CV technology, future vehicle design and best practice advice.


Latest articles

Logistics UK calls out misleading information published in TSC report

Logistics UK has said that the recent publication of a report into the Road Freight Supply Chain by the Transport Select Committee (TSC) has published misleading information about the issues faced by the sector, and the causes for some of the problems which operators have faced over the past two years, and before.

Read time: 2 minutes

View article

Generation Logistics – attracting future talent into the industry

An interview with Transport Minister Trudy Harrison MP and Logistics UK President Phil Roe

Read time: 2 minutes

View article

E-news archive

You can also view our e-news archive here.

E-news archive

Interested in Membership?

Get in contact using the Membership Enquiry Form.

Membership Enquiry Form

Logistics Magazine Portal

The hub for finding relevant and informative features, news & compliance guides from Logistics Magazine

Logistics Magazine Portal Home

Sponsorship Opportunities

Learn more about advertising on the new digital Logistics Magazine, with a variety of advert options to reach 30,000 relevant readers.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Magazine Contents


Logistics Magazine will cover all the latest news on stories breaking in the industry, including developments on COVID-19,  Brexit, Clean Air Zones, transport law and decarbonisation.



Our frequent features will tackle the broader issues affecting logistics such as the COVID-19 vaccination programme, technology and innovation, the political and economic landscape, global trade and the drive to reduce emissions across all transport modes.



Each month we explore a different topic in depth in our popular Compliance section, while each week we will publish answers put to our Member Advice Centre team.


View Supplements and Previous Printed Editions

View Supplements and previous printed editions of Logistics Magazine here.