Britain’s share of world trade was 4.4 per cent in 2000; by 2010, it was 2.7 per cent and is now 2.3 per cent. Exports have grown more slowly than those of almost any other developed country.
From 2000 to 2010, Britain’s total balance of payments deficit was £296 billion; the deficit in trade of goods was £740 billion. The situation is worsening: this year’s second quarter deficit was £20 billion. These huge deficits are financed largely by vast net sales of portfolio assets, the rest by borrowing.
In 1980, 23 per cent of our GDP came from manufacturing. By 1995 this had fallen to 18 per cent and by 2012 to 12 per cent. Japan and Germany still derive more than 20 per cent of their GDP from manufacturing, while Korea has 25 per cent and China more than 30 per cent. ■