Greenwich Park, with the City of London in the background.
Project Lead: Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes
Project Team: Mikhail Radkevitch, Helena Roberts, Shaan Afzal-Khan, Haroon Faqir, Joe Godbold
First published: 18 February 2021
Last updated: 11 January 2022
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)’sTrade 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 (20th), Denmark (24th), Finland (37th) and Iceland (74th). They constitute some of the UK’s biggest export markets – USA (1st), Canada (13th), Sweden (15th), Norway (17th), Denmark (25th), Russia (26th), Finland (39th) and Iceland (79th) – and leading import sources – USA (1st), Norway (10th), Sweden (16th), Russia (17th), Denmark (21st), 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.
Period: Four quarters to the end of Q2 2021 (unless specified otherwise)
Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
200th largest trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of total UK trade)
Joint 191st largest goods trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods trade)
187th largest services trading partner (accounting for <0.1% of UK services trade)
Rank as export market:
192nd largest export market (accounting for <0.1% of total UK exports)
193rd largest goods export market (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods exports)
170th largest services export market (accounting for <0.1% of UK services exports)
Rank of import market:
Joint 188th largest import market (accounting for <0.1% of total UK imports)
Joint 152nd largest goods import market (accounting for <0.1% of UK goods imports)
Joint 211th largest services import market (accounting for <0.1% of UK services imports)
Total trade in goods and services: £12 million (increase of 9.1% or £1 million from previous year)
Total UK exports to Greenland: £10 million (decrease of 9.1% or £1 million from previous year)
Total UK imports from Greenland: £2 million (increase of £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)
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.