Services form the backbone of the UK economy, accounting for around 80% of British GDP. The country is a net exporter of services to both the EU single market and the rest of the world, with banking, financial services, insurance and IT among the highest-value exports.
According to data compiled for EURACTIV by ReportLinker, the UK’s services trade surplus with the EU reached £25.9bn (€29.4bn) in 2015, making it Britain’s most important single export market.
At a time of great economic uncertainty, this positive trade balance could play in Britain’s favour, acting as a buffer against external shocks and keeping the UK economy running as it seeks out new trading partners after Brexit.
“A trade surplus is in principle an advantage, both in terms of the UK’s competitiveness as well as for its Brexit negotiations,” Erik van der Marel and Philipp Lamprecht, senior economists at the European Centre for Political Economy (ECIPE) told EURACTIV.