Manufacturing has been at the heart of the trade war between the United States and China. The conflict began in 2018 and has been one of the world’s major economic stories since. In the wake of China’s recent successes and fast-paced growth within the sector, Western manufacturing has somewhat struggled, with the UK being no exception. With their ability to produce at more cost-effective rates, Chinese manufacturers have been able to undercut their British counterparts, in both domestic and foreign markets.
Nevertheless, turnover amongst UK manufacturers has been on the up in recent years. Turnover growth has been more prominent in terms of exported manufactured goods, with revenues rising by 13.8% between 2016 and 2019. This compares to just 4.8% for domestically sold goods, highlighting manufacturers’ increased dependency on foreign demand, with a particular source stemming from recent growth in emerging markets.
Amidst potential regulatory burdens in light of Brexit and the loss of free access to the single market, UK manufacturers could be set for a spell of turbulence, however. While new trade deals are negotiated, exporting businesses may find their margins squeezed, threatening their recent successes as well as business survival and employment.