UK-Arctic Trade and Investment Observatory

By Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes
Greenwich Park, with the City of London in the background.

Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes


On the occasion of its fifth anniversary since its establishment, Polar Research and Policy Initiative (PRPI) is pleased to join forces with the London-based investment advisory firm High North Advisers (HNA) to launch the UK-Arctic Trade and Investment Observatory, a one-stop shop to find the latest statistics, analysis and commentary about the UK’s trade and investment relationships across the Arctic, Nordic and North Atlantic regions. The PRPI-HNA Observatory is to be a permanent and regularly updated feature that builds on PRPI’s expertise and experience in trade and investment policy and promotion, and HNA’s background in providing investment advisory services, to showcase and strengthen the bilateral trade and investment relationships between the UK and its Northern partners: the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Russia. 

The PRPI-HNA Observatory gleans the most relevant data from the UK Department of International Trade (DIT)’s Trade and Investment Factsheets that were released, for the first time, on 12 February 2021, and that provide valuable insights into the UK’s trade and investment relationships with its Arctic, Nordic and North Atlantic trading partners overseas. Over the coming months, the Observatory will be updated every time new data becomes available or there is a significant new development, and as and when PRPI publishes analysis and commentary about these trading relationships. In the case of Greenland and Faroe Islands, there may be discrepancies between the data in the DIT factsheets and the data in PRPI’s reports due to the different assumptions and methodologies used – for instance, what percentage of Greenland’s exports to the UK entering from Denmark is treated in the UK as imports from Greenland versus imports from Denmark? Any PRPI reports about Greenland or Faroe Islands would include, as far as possible, all imports into the UK of products originating in Greenland or the Faroe Islands (even if entering via Denmark) within the statistics for UK-Greenland trade or UK-Faroes trade, as opposed to UK-Denmark trade.

As evident in the overview provided below, the Arctic and Nordic states are highly important to the UK both as export markets and import sources. 6 of the 8 Arctic Council member states feature among the UK’s 25 largest trading partners: USA (1st), Norway (13th), Sweden (16th), Canada (17th), Russia (22nd), Denmark (23rd), Finland (37th) and Iceland (74th). They constitute some of the UK’s biggest export markets – USA (1st), Canada (13th), Sweden (17th), Norway (18th), Denmark (24th), Russia (26th), Finland (39th) and Iceland (79th) – and leading import sources – USA (1st), Norway (11th), Sweden (15th), Russia (18th), Denmark (19th), Canada (21st), Finland (38th) and Iceland (65th). Yearly fluctuations aside, the UK and the US, furthermore, have the strongest bilateral investment relationship in the world, with two-way direct investment amounts to more than USD 1 trillion. UK companies in the US employ more than 1.2 million Americans, while US companies in the UK employ more than 1.5 million Britons. Provided below are the statistics for the UK’s trade with each Arctic and Nordic country.

Mainly due to its strategic geographic location, but also through its historical, cultural and economic ties, the UK sits at the heart of the Northern Arc of Prosperity spanning the Arctic, Nordic and North Atlantic regions. As the UK embraces its future as an independent trading nation, there has never been a more opportune time for it to look North in a more concerted fashion and position itself as a strategic gateway between its Northern neighbourhood and the world beyond. For its Arctic, Nordic and North Atlantic partners, the UK offers access not just to the world’s financial capital, but also to numerous world-leading centres/clusters of expertise, innovation, influence and capital, and is best placed to serve as both an attractive market and a crucial stepping stone for companies seeking to scale up and internationalise. The PRPI-HNA Observatory aims to serve as a valuable resource for stakeholders seeking to understand, monitor and advance the two-way flow of goods, services and capital between the UK and its Northern neighbours.


USA

Seward Harbour, Alaska Seward Harbour, Alaska © Srini Sundarrajan/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 1st largest trading partner (accounting for 17.1% of total UK trade)
    • 1st largest goods trading partner (accounting for 12% of UK goods trade)
    • 1st largest services trading partner (accounting for 25.3% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 1st largest export market (accounting for 21.1% of total UK exports)
    • 1st largest goods export market (accounting for 15.9% of UK goods exports)
    • 1st largest services export market (accounting for 27% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 1st largest import market (accounting for 12.9% of total UK imports)
    • 3rd largest goods import market (accounting for 9% of UK goods imports)
    • 1st largest services import market (accounting for 22.5% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £208.7 billion (decrease of 7.6% or £17.3 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to USA: £131.8 billion (decrease of 3.8% or £5.2 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from USA: £76.9 billion (decrease of 13.5% or £12 billion from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £379.7 billion (25.3% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £381.6 billion (24.5% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for USA


Canada

Vancouver, Canada Vancouver, Canada © Jerry Meaden/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 17th largest trading partner (accounting for 1.4% of total UK trade)
    • 16th largest goods trading partner (accounting for 1.3% of UK goods trade)
    • 16th largest services trading partner (accounting for 1.6% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 13th largest export market (accounting for 1.8% of total UK exports)
    • 12th largest goods export market (accounting for 1.9% of UK goods exports)
    • 13th largest services export market (accounting for 1.8% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 21st largest import market (accounting for 1% of total UK imports)
    • 22nd largest goods import market (accounting for 0.9% of UK goods imports)
    • 19th largest services import market (accounting for 1.2% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £17.4 billion (decrease of 24.9% or £5.8 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Canada: £11.4 billion (decrease of 0.1% or £11 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Canada: £6 billion (decrease of 48.9% or £5.8 billion from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £32.1 billion (2.1% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £20 billion (1.3% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Canada


Norway

Tromsø, Norway Tromsø, Norway © Dwayne Ryan Menezes

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 13th largest trading partner (accounting for 1.7% of total UK trade)
    • 11th largest goods trading partner (accounting for 2.2% of UK goods trade)
    • 23rd largest services trading partner (accounting for 1.0% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 18th largest export market (accounting for 1.3% of total UK exports)
    • 17th largest goods export market (accounting for 1.5% of UK goods exports)
    • 21st largest services export market (accounting for 1.1% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 11th largest import market (accounting for 2.2% of total UK imports)
    • 10th largest goods import market (accounting for 2.8% of UK goods imports)
    • 27th largest services import market (accounting for 0.8% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £21 billion (decrease of 19.7% or £5.2 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Norway: £8 billion (increase of 9.5% or £694 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Norway: £13 billion (decrease of 31.1% or £5.9 billion from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £1 billion (0.1% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £7.9 billion (0.5% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Norway


Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm, Sweden © Syuqor7/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 16th largest trading partner (accounting for 1.5% of total UK trade)
    • 18th largest goods trading partner (accounting for 1.3% of UK goods trade)
    • 12th largest services trading partner (accounting for 1.9% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 17th largest export market (accounting for 1.4% of total UK exports)
    • 20th largest goods export market (accounting for 1.4% of UK goods exports)
    • 15th largest services export market (accounting for 1.5% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 15th largest import market (accounting for 1.6% of total UK imports)
    • 17th largest goods import market (accounting for 1.2% of UK goods imports)
    • 10th largest services import market (accounting for 2.6% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £18.6 billion (decrease of 12.6% or £2.7 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Sweden: £8.9 billion (decrease of 10.3% or £1 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Sweden: £9.7 billion (decrease of 14.6% or £1.7 billion from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £26.1 billion (1.7% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £9.1 billion (0.6% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Sweden


Finland

FinlandHelsinki, Finland © Juha Riisanen/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 37th largest trading partner (accounting for 0.4% of total UK trade)
    • 36th largest goods trading partner (accounting for 0.4% of UK goods trade)
    • 40th largest services trading partner (accounting for 0.4% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 39th largest export market (accounting for 0.4% of total UK exports)
    • 36th largest goods export market (accounting for 0.4% of UK goods exports)
    • 36th largest services export market (accounting for 0.5% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 38th largest import market (accounting for 0.4% of total UK imports)
    • 35th largest goods import market (accounting for 0.5% of UK goods imports)
    • 50th largest services import market (accounting for 0.2% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £5.2 billion (decrease of 15.8% or £970 million from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Finland: £2.8 billion (decrease of 7.9% or £236 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Finland: £2.4 billion (decrease of 23.2% or £734 million from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £2.8 billion (0.2% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £569 million (<0.1% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Finland


Denmark

Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark © Droz Jean-Paul/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 23rd largest trading partner (accounting for 1% of total UK trade)
    • 23rd largest goods trading partner (accounting for 1% of UK goods trade)
    • 22nd largest services trading partner (accounting for 1% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 24th largest export market (accounting for 0.9% of total UK exports)
    • 26th largest goods export market (accounting for 0.7% of UK goods exports)
    • 20th largest services export market (accounting for 1.2% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 19th largest import market (accounting for 1.1% of total UK imports)
    • 19th largest goods import market (accounting for 1.2% of UK goods imports)
    • 26th largest services import market (accounting for 0.8% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £12.2 billion (decrease of 14.9% or £2.1 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Finland: £5.9 billion (decrease of 4.2% or £260 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Finland: £6.3 billion (decrease of 22.9% or £1.9 billion from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £6.4 billion (0.4% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £7.2 billion (0.5% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Denmark


Greenland

Ilulissat Ilulissat, Greenland © Dwayne Ryan Menezes

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 191st largest trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of total UK trade)
    • 195th largest goods trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods trade)
    • 172nd largest services trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 176th largest export market (accounting for <0.1% of total UK exports)
    • 191st largest goods export market (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods exports)
    • 158th largest services export market (accounting for <0.1% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 213th largest import market (accounting for <0.1% of total UK imports)
    • 201st largest goods import market (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods imports)
    • 202nd largest services import market (accounting for <0.1% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £12 million (decrease of £1 million from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Greenland: £12 million (increase of 20.0% or £2 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Greenland: <£1 million (decrease of 100% or £2 million from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £5 million (<0.1% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): <£1 million (<0.1% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Greenland

Note: According to PRPI’s data based on submissions by companies engaged in UK-Greenland trade, the bilateral trade between the two countries is much greater. For additional information, check PRPI’s UK-Greenland trade policy brief, which has the latest data as of November 2020. An addendum to the report will be published here early in March 2021, with the latest statistics as of end-February 2021.


Faroe Islands

Torshavn, Faroe Islands Torshavn, Faroe Islands © sandrinelle/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 110th largest trading partner (accounting for 0.1% of total UK trade)
    • 88th largest goods trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods trade)
    • 148th largest services trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 153rd largest export market (accounting for <0.1% of total UK exports)
    • 122nd largest goods export market (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods exports)
    • 205th largest services export market (accounting for <0.1% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 91st largest import market (accounting for <0.1% of total UK imports)
    • 74th largest goods import market (accounting for 0.1% of UK goods imports)
    • 116th largest services import market (accounting for <0.1% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £286 million (decrease of 2.7% or £8 million from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Faroe Islands: £32 million (decrease of 22.0% or £9 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Faroe Islands: £254 million (increase of 0.4% or £1 million from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): <£1 million (<0.1% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £3 million (<0.1% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Faroe Islands


Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland Reykjavik, Iceland © krismadden/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 74th largest trading partner (accounting for 0.1% of total UK trade)
    • 64th largest goods trading partner (accounting for 0.1% of UK goods trade)
    • 77th largest services trading partner (accounting for 0.1% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 79th largest export market (accounting for 0.1% of total UK exports)
    • 72nd largest goods export market (accounting for 0.1% of UK goods exports)
    • 82nd largest services export market (accounting for 0.1% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 65th largest import market (accounting for 0.1% of total UK imports)
    • 61st largest goods import market (accounting for 0.1% of UK goods imports)
    • 67th largest services import market (accounting for 0.1% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £1.1 billion (decrease of 29.4% or £470 million from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Iceland: £509 million (decrease of 32.1% or £241 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Iceland: £622 million (decrease of 26.9% or £229 million from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £56 million (% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): Not available due to data disclosure

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Iceland


Russia

Moscow, Russia Moscow, Russia © Harry Popoff/Flickr

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 22nd largest trading partner (accounting for 1.1% of total UK trade)
    • 17th largest goods trading partner (accounting for 1.3% of UK goods trade)
    • 27th largest services trading partner (accounting for 0.7% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 26th largest export market (accounting for 0.8% of total UK exports)
    • 25th largest goods export market (accounting for 0.7% of UK goods exports)
    • 26th largest services export market (accounting for 0.8% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 18th largest import market (accounting for 1.4% of total UK imports)
    • 14th largest goods import market (accounting for 1.8% of UK goods imports)
    • 32nd largest services import market (accounting for 0.5% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £13 billion (decrease of 10.4% or £1.5 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Russia: £4.9 billion (decrease of 6.9% or £363 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Russia: £8.1 billion (decrease of 12.4% or £1.2 billion from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £12.3 billion (0.8% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £655 million (<0.1% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Russia


Below: View from the London Eye, London, UK

UK Arctic Trade and Investment Observatory

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