The UK is now the second biggest services exporter in the world – behind only the US, and the services sector contributes around 80% of the UK’s GDP.

New ONS statistics show UK services exports reached record highs of almost £400 billion in 2022.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has welcomed new figures showing UK services exports reached record highs, adding that they ‘cement the UK’s position as a global services superpower’.

The trade data released by the Office for National Statistics today (Friday 10th February) shows that UK services exports reached record highs in 2022, totalling £397 billion.

In current prices, it means an increase of 20% compared to 2021, and up 23% on exports in 2018.

The UK is the second biggest services exporter in the world – behind only the US, and the services sector contributes around 80% of the UK’s GDP.

Today’s results show the UK is contributing to a growing global sector, with service sectors across the world expected to account for 28% of global trade by 2030 – up from 25% in 2019.

The Business and Trade Secretary welcomed the news on day two of her visit to Mexico, where she is using high level talks with Mexican cabinet counterparts to secure benefits for thousands of UK firms by locking in expansive services provisions as part of a new, modern UK-Mexico trade deal.

Alongside an upgraded bilateral deal, the Business and Trade Secretary is in Mexico to promote the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Mexico is a member.

Joining CPTPP will secure enhanced market access, predictability, and transparency for UK service suppliers who exported £30bn worth of services to CPTPP countries in 2021. Modern trade agreements like CPTPP, that set ambitious rules for trade in services between members, are vital for UK companies looking to maximise opportunities to grow their businesses across both sides of the Pacific. 

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

These new figures are a trade success story and cement the UK’s position as a global services superpower.

Services are the lifeblood of our economy, employing over 8 in 10 of our workforce. To see services trade reaching these heights is a firm reminder of the resilience of our strong services economy and shows significant progress in our race to export over a trillion pounds of British goods and services a year by 2030.

I’ll be using my talks with Mexican politicians and UK businesses operating in Mexico to make the case for a revamped UK-Mexico trade deal which will significantly increase export opportunities, and boost jobs around the UK.

Latest figures show the UK exports over £1bn worth of services to Mexico, a 30% increase in current prices on the previous year. A more modern, forward looking ‘Mexico 2.0’ deal could boost this even further, unlocking export opportunities for SMEs and the UK’s digital and services industries.

UK businesses who would benefit from modernised services rules between both countries range from British bank HSBC, currently the fifth largest bank in Mexico, to Pearson Education, whose products and services include world-renowned academic qualifications, digital content, assessments and data. 

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