Whatever the direction the UK's Relations with the EU takes , the EU remains undoubtedly crucial for the UK's economy. 2013 saw over 48.5% of UK exports going to the EU and 52% of its imports coming from the EU. It is worth noting that this was significantly higher only 10 years ago, when the numbers were 62% and 59%, respectively. Could it be that this decline in trade presents one of the reasons for the UK evolving position towards the EU?
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), on the other hand, are becoming increasingly significant to British trade. UK exports to those countries have increased by 53% since 2007.
David Cameron has made several visits to the BRICS countries recently, leading to increased trade with those countries. For example, Cameron's visited to China in November 2010 , a country to which, in 2013, UK exports grew by 80% from 2010. The Prime Minister has made three visits to India, a period that was associated with almost 45% increase in UK exports to India. Russia looked a promising destination for UK exports before the current conflict with Ukraine. Since 2001 and until 2011 UK-Russia trade has been growing by an average of 21%.
The UK has been one of the largest foreign direct investors into Russia, with Russian companies accounting for approximately one quarter of all foreign IPOs on the London Stock Exchange. This will definitely be affected by the ongoing events in Ukraine the imposed sanctions by both sides.
Cameron's visit to Brazil in 2012, a country expected to assume a greater role in the world as it hosts the Olympics in 2016, was also seen as a crucial visit, aimed at boosting UK trade. In 2012, the UK was Brazil's eleventh trading partner in terms of exports and fourteenth in terms of imports with the balance of trade in favour of Brazil by around £630 million. Other trade targets for the UK include Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa with which the UK aiming to double its trade at different time frames.
With the exception of South Africa, Brazil and Mexico, African and Latin American countries were missing opportunities for the UK trade policy during the last decade. Trade was crucial in the recovery of the British Economy and there are still plenty of opportunities in different part of the world to engage in trade.