UK car exports to China increase in 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic

  • By Xinhua
  • Oct. 15, 2021
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Britain's car exports to China showed a slight increase in 2020 from pre-pandemic figures in 2019 despite a significant decline to the European Union (EU) and the United States, an industry report said Tuesday.

Britain's car exports had experienced the downward trend in 2019. However the decline in 2020 was much more substantial, with only 400,000 volume cars exported to the EU in 2020 compared to 578,000 in 2019, the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in its trade report.

"In comparison, exports to China showed a slight increase from 2019 figures, an indication that demand in China is atypical of the rest of the world experience, but also that the country is experiencing a quicker recovery post-pandemic, with China exiting its lockdown earlier than other nations around the world and reigniting pent-up demand for vehicles," the report said.

"The UK and Chinese automotive industries have been strengthening trade and investment ties, creating a relationship that continues to boost the economies of both nations," Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, told Xinhua before the launch of the report.

"With the UK a world leader in automotive engineering, design and technology, and China a global leader in the production of vehicles and with an increasingly diverse and innovative technological strategy, there is a significant opportunity for further collaboration between the two countries as the automotive industry shifts toward a zero-emissions future," Hawes said.

Besides China, the report also identified South Korea as one of the most important growth markets in Asia, after registering slight increases similarly.

With the global car market expected to grow significantly in regions such as Asia and eastern Europe, the SMMT is calling for future trade deals to include dedicated automotive annexes and provisions to reduce tariffs and regulatory barriers.

Britain's vehicle export revenues reached 27 billion pounds (about 36.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020, making them the country's most valuable exported good. The automotive industry delivered 74 billion pounds (about 100.5 billion dollars) in trade in 2020, compared with the almost 100 billion pounds (about 135.9 billion dollars) annually in the past five years, according to the SMMT data.

Around half of all cars made in Britain are exported to EU member states, and almost all vans exported by the country end up on European roads. While the industry looks ahead to post-Brexit trading opportunities, the EU will remain a central trade partner, it said.