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Last update: March 2012

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Basic Economic Facts


US $ 2,472 trillion (2011 est.)

Source: International Monetary Fund

GDP per head:

US $39,459 (20011 est.)

Source: International Monetary Fund


Annual Growth:

1.1% (2011 est.)



4.2% (February 2012 est.)

Source: Bank of England

Major Industries:

Aerospace, automotive, financial services, tourism, electric power equipment, automation equipment, rail road equipment, shipbuilding, agriculture (cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; livestock; fish), mining & quarrying, manufacture of chemicals and chemical products and man-made fibres.


Sector Opportunities in the UK

The UK has a worldwide reputation in a number of sectors including:

  • Aerospace

The UK aerospace market is one of the UK’s highest value manufacturing sectors, which is home to Europe’s largest Aerospace Industry.  With  a turnover of £22 billion and new orders of £32 billion in 2009, this industry continues to drive forward the innovation and provide a wealth of technical expertise to the UK manufacturing sector.

The UK unquestionably offers one of the world's most innovative and productive locations with R&D investment of over £1.7bn in 2009. This flair for innovation coupled with excellent capabilities and experience continues to attract new orders on a global scale. Exports accounted for 70% of the sectors total sales in 2009.

  • Automotive

The UK has a diverse, vibrant and world-class automotive industry. It is one of the five major automotive manufacturing countries in Europe, with over 5000 companies active in the sector.

The UK has the strongest independent aftermarket in Europe, with many small operators doing business alongside the big household names. Another key UK strength is specialist design engineering. Total automotive exports currently exceed £20bn annually.

  • Biotechnology

The UK biotechnology sector is number one in Europe for research and development and second only to the US in the world.

  • Chemical

The chemical industry in the UK is a high-performance industry achieving exceptional growth rate in terms of exports, productivity and investments.

Creating a turnover of £60 billion annually to the UK economy, the chemical industry is a significant provider of wealth and job creation to the UK, employing around 214,000 directly and significantly more indirectly.

  • Communication

The UK is taking the lead in the implementation of innovative communication services, equipment and infrastructure development around the world. The convergence and transformation of the communications sector has significantly developed the UK economy, which will see one in every five pounds of all new commerce in the UK be produced online.

  • Electronic & IT Hardware

The UK's electronics industry is the fifth largest in the world, with a £55 billion annual turnover, second only, in Europe, to Germany. There are around 12,500 electronics businesses in the UK, most of which are small companies. The industry employs around 250,000 people. Electronics accounted for 18 per cent of total UK inward investment projects in 2005.

  • Healthcare & Medical

With its flagship National Health Service recognised the world over as a benchmark of medical excellence, the UK's healthcare reputation goes before it.  As well as standard healthcare services and products, UK companies fare well in sophisticated niche areas like diagnostics, bio-device interfaces, informatics and laboratory technology.

  • Mechanical Electrical & Process Engineering

Engineering makes a major contribution to the UK economy and represents a major trading sector. Manufacturing accounts for 15% of total UK GDP and the sector employs 3.5 million people, around 15% of the UK workforce. In 2006, manufacturing exports accounted for 60% of all UK exports.

Source: UK Trade & Investment


UK's Relations with India

Britain and India share a global vision and democratic values. UK and India both play a proactive role in international affairs. Both have a strong interest in success of multilateralism. Both play vital roles in the UN, WTO, Commonwealth and range of other bodies.


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and India have a wealth of cultural and ethnic diversity. In the UK, ethnic minorities make up a considerable proportion of the UK population. Indian origin community in the UK now numbers over 1 million and is the most prosperous of the major ethnic communities in the country. The UK is a success in creating a multi-diverse society.


The UK is Europe’s top destination for foreign direct investment, attracting major investment into a number of different projects and generating nearly 2,000 jobs each week (UKTI). India is now the 3rd largest foreign investor in the UK in terms of projects, second only to the US and Japan.

JETCO: The Joint Economic and Trade Committee, set up in January 2005, is helping India and the UK identify ways for further boosting bilateral trade and investment. It has already delivered a number of benefits. Power is one area of priority in the JETCO infrastructure group.

India is one of UK's largest export markets in the developing world and accounts for 80.4% (£2813m) of the total exports in the South Asia region. UK exports to India during 2005 have increased substantially by about 25.4% over the previous year. Major UK exports to India include: non-metallic minerals, gold, telecom equipment, transport equipment and industrial machinery. UK's imports from India: textiles and readymade garments, gems and jewellery, footwear, metal manufactures, organic chemicals and vegetables and fruit.

In 2005-06, Indian investments into the UK rose by 110%, an amazing leap for India on UK's investors' chart - from No. 8 to No. 3. (US and Japan were first and second respectively).


UK's Relations with Pakistan

UK exports to Pakistan were worth £465m in 2008. Britain and Pakistan have always enjoyed good trade relations and many Pakistani businesses see Britain as the country of first choice to do business with. The UK is the fourth largest OECD exporting country to Pakistan, with a 10 per cent share of the market. It is listed as the second largest investor in the country.

Bilateral trade has grown steadily since 2000. The UK is the 4th largest trading partner among OECD countries- and the only one where the balance is in Pakistan's favour. The UK business community already has a significant presence in Pakistan. Significant investments have been made in oil and gas, IT and telecom, education, pharmaceuticals, financial services, power sectors.

The main sectors of opportunity for UK are specialised industrial machinery, power generation machinery, telecom & broadcasting equipment, chemicals, pharmaceutical and medical equipment. The UK is a key market for Pakistani exports, particularly textiles, rice, leather, products, carpets and fruit.

The Pakistani-British Business Advisory Group, launched by the Prime Minister in 2002, comprises a small group of heads of British companies in Pakistan and heads of Pakistani companies with ties to the UK. It also includes representatives of the British and the Pakistani governments. The group aims to promote durable ways to build the UK/Pakistan commercial relationship further. Pakistan's Minister of Commerce, Mr Humayun Akhtar Khan inaugurated the Pakistan-Britain Trade and Investment Forum in London on 8 May 2003.


UK's Relations with Bangladesh

UK exports to Bangladesh were worth £68m in 2009. The bilateral commercial relationship between the UK and Bangladesh has seen exports to Bangladesh increase in January to November of 2010.  Britain has traditionally been the one of the biggest overseas investors into the country and has over 50 British companies operating within Bangladesh.

The main exports to Bangladesh in 2010 were Industrial machinery and equipment, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, ores and metal scrap, power generating machinery and chemicals. The UK has also been traditionally successful in the construction sector, especially bridge building and also in the consultancy and education sectors.


UK's Relations with Sri Lanka

UK exports to Sri Lanka were worth £117m in 2010.  Trading links between the UK and Sri Lanka remain strong. This is because the significant presence of Sri Lanka expatriates and historical links have made the UK the third largest foreign direct investor in the country.

The rise of foreign direct investment and international donor support, the economy of Sri Lanka has seen extensive reconstruction programs implemented to support its growing domestic demand. This accompanied with low inflation and increasing interest from foreign businesses, growth is set to increase over the next few years.

Recent governments have privatised public sector industries, abolished foreign exchange and import controls, reduced tariffs and adopted a development strategy to encourage foreign investment. Coupled with a relatively affluent population, these measures make Sri Lanka a good market for UK consumer goods both reconditioned and new.

The main exports to Sri Lanka were iron and steel, machinery and machinery parts, paper, beverages and spirits, pharmaceutical products, plastic and fabrics.


Entry Clearance

Please visit UK visas website ( to find out if you need a visa, or entry clearance to enter or transit through the UK. If you are already in the UK and want to change or extend your stay, please contact: Immigration and Nationality Directorate


Cultural Relations with the UK - India

The British Council's India operation is one of its largest in the world, with offices in the four metro cities and British Libraries in seven other cities, the latter managed in co-operation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The Council's main activities involve offering library services to 112,000 private and 4,000 corporate members, marketing UK education, administering 80,000 UK examinations per year, and running a varied programme of projects in governance and human rights, science and technology, the arts and English language teaching and teacher training. In recent years, the British Council has also introduced an on-line service to reach a wider audience of young Indians.

Cultural Relations with the UK - Sri Lanka

The British Council has English Teaching Centres in Colombo (one of the fastest growing in the network with well over 3000 students) and Kandy, and is involved in English language projects throughout the island. It also runs busy libraries at the teaching centres, and maintains a lively arts programme.

The Council runs an education information service that offers detailed information on all aspects of the British education system, and administers exams in Colombo and Kandy.

In Sri Lanka the Council also works closely with the Ministry of Education on its education reform agenda, particularly at Primary level.


Human Rights

Human rights are in the heart of UK foreign policy. The Human Rights Act 1998 is a United Kingdom Act of Parliament which received Royal Assent on November 9, 1998, and came into force on October 2, 2000. Its aim is to "give further effect" in UK law to the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Drafted soon after the end of the Second World War, in 1953 the UK was one of the first countries to sign up to the convention, in which Articles 2 to 14 specify the rights that are protected. Currently, over 45 countries are members. Over the years, protocols have been added through agreement between participating nations - not all protocols must be agreed to by all nations, though it is encouraged. The UK has signed up to two of the protocols that guarantee additional rights (the First and Sixth Protocols) but not to the others (the Fourth, Seventh and Twelfth Protocols).


Last update: March 2012

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