China becomes UK’s biggest single import market
The coronavirus pandemic has helped China become the UK's biggest single import market for the first time since records began. Although UK residents, unlike other countries, are not thrilled about goods from China, the demand for Chinese textiles to manufacture face masks and other personal protective clothing has reached record highs.
The British prefer to buy high-quality goods of their own, German, or US production. Germany has long been a leader among importers, but now China has overtaken it. Goods imported from China to the UK climbed by 66% since the start of 2018 to an impressive £16.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021, the Office for National Statistics said. At the same time, imports from Germany fell by a quarter to £12.5 billion in the same period.
China turned out to be the first major global economy to beat back the coronavirus pandemic and the only major country to register growth in global trade last year. In addition to personal protective equipment, there was a sharp increase in demand for Chinese electronics imported to the UK during the lockdown.
Exports of goods saw a decline as in late 2020, British companies decided to increase stocks in order to avoid risks of shortages in the country. Trade contracted in January since businesses held back from moving goods and ran down existing supplies before activity gradually rebounded.