Export Britain

United States of America

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Washington DC

Largest city
New York

Administrative divisions
50 states

United States dollar ($)

9,826,675 km2

(2012) 315,068,000

Calling code

Official language

Latest Business Opportunities

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Ease of trading across borders

Importing a standard container of goods into the USA requires:



The US is Britain’s largest single export market. The sheer size and vast cultural differences across the regions make the U.S. market a fascinating and diverse place for UK exporters. US economy is characterised by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP constitutes 22% of the gross world product. The United States is the largest importer of goods and second largest exporter. Although the US is a major producer of manufactured and agricultural goods, the service sector dominates.

Economic snapshot (% annual growth rate)

GDP 1.8 2.3 2.9
Export of goods and services 6.7 3.5 6.0
Import of goods and services 4.8 2.7 6.1
Inflation 3.1 2.1 2.2
Short-term interest rates (%) 0.3 0.4 0.5
Exchange rate (per £) 1.21 1.11 1.04
Population 1.0 1.0 1.0
Unit labour cost 2.7 1.2 2.3

Economic outlook

First estimates revealed GDP dropped by 0.1% in the final quarter of 2012, its first contraction since 2009. The initial Q4 figure meant the US economy grew by 2.2% in 2012 as a whole, slightly up on 2011's 1.8% rise. Disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and uncertainty weighing on consumers and businesses from the ``fiscal cliff'' held back growth in the final quarter. Looking ahead in 2013, the economy is likely to regain a sounder position in the first quarter, after expanding for 13 consecutive quarters before the contraction in the fourth-quarter.

Trade outlook

Over the medium term, the volume of US goods exports destined for the economies of Asia and North America are forecast to rise with exports making up 17% of exports to North America and 11.7% to Asia. Exports to the Middle East and North Africa, although starting from a much lower base, will also witness solid growth. In contrast, many traditional export markets in Europe are set to decline in importance. US exports to the economies of Europe (excluding Russia) are forecasted to fall with exports to Europe occupying 16% of US exports. But it is India that will be the fastest-growing market for US exports in the future, with demand increasingly driven by the country’s emerging middle class. Imports mirror the performance of exports with Europe remaining the biggest importer to the US, followed by China and Denmark. The UK only makes up 1.4% of imports into the US, falling behind its counterparts France and Germany.

SWOT analysis

Second largest exporter
World's number one producer of electrical and nuclear energy
Debt level
Trade deficit
Cap and trade - A full functioning cap and trade system may benefit companies that build energy producing industrial complexes
Several states in the US plan to use the Cap and Trade system
while most of Europe is already using the system
US currency appreciation
Credit market crisis
Rising unemployment
Fiscal austerity

United States of America's trade with the UK

Sector segmentation growth

Sectors to watch:
  • Utilities
  • Electronic components & boards
  • Oil and natural gas extraction


  • other precision equipment,
  • Motor vehicle bodies & parts
  • consumer electronics

Fastest-growing exporters into the United States of America

1 Egypt
2 Saudi
3 Turkey
5 Vietnam
6 Germany
7 India
8 China
9 Brazil
10 France

Total merchandise trade - Leading import partners

Total merchandise trade - leading import partners
Opportunities for UK businesses

Although the growth outlook for the US appears subdued, it will remain the world’s largest consumer market. It will become an attractive destination for exporters in particular emerging markets. The U.S. economy is integrated and largely self-contained, with every major industry represented. U.S. manufacturers often source components overseas and UK goods have traditionally enjoyed a good reputation for quality in the US. Key opportunities for UK businesses lie in: advanced engineering, clean technology, creative and media, energy and power and financial and professional services.

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