The UK’s trade deficit with China has more than trebled over the last year.
Data from the Department for International Trade shows that the UK imported £40.5bn more from China than it exported to the country up to June 2021 – a 240% rise in just 12 months.
The surge has been caused by UK exports to the nation dropping 34%, whilst locked-down UK consumers spent big with imports from China surging 38%.
The latest data has prompted fears that the UK is becoming too heavily dependent on Chinese goods, whilst ongoing concerns over human rights could see the government follow the US in banning certain goods where forced labour may have been involved.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson on international trade, Lord Purvis, commented that: “It’s become apparent that the government is taking us on a very worrying journey of becoming heavily dependent on China for trade in goods, and moving away from our nearest market in Europe.”
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However, the China British Business Council has said that the last 10 years have been a success for British businesses exporting into China – exports of which have more than tripled to £30bn, making China the UK’s third-largest trading partner.