For hundreds of years, Britain has held a reputation as a trading nation. Does that still hold true? According to ONS figures, 15.2% of UK (non-financial private sector) firms trade overseas, 10.8% are exporters and 10.7% are importers. And it seems that trading firms punch above their weight.
The 10.8% of British firms that export contribute almost three times that value to the British economy. Gross exports account for 28.4% of GDP2, and UK trade amounts to around 58% of GDP in total. The value of trading firms to the British economy is even greater than this, as few trading firms only buy and sell internationally. The great majority are also buying and selling in the domestic economy.
Trading firms provide jobs for far more than 15.2% of British employees – as larger businesses are much more likely than smaller firms to be direct exporters and importers. Of Britain’s 4,100 businesses with more than 250 employees,