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The Make UK/BDO Regional Manufacturing Outlook report examines the contribution of manufacturing to the economies of every English Region and the devolved nations. It analyses the most recent official data and Make UK's quarterly data across a wide range of indicators, including output, orders, employment, and investment intentions.

The analysis of official data from 2021 shows that the EU remains overwhelmingly the dominant market for UK goods with an overall average level of 49% of exports going to the bloc. Wales, the North East, East Midlands and East of England, South West, Scotland and Northern Ireland all saw their share of manufacturing exports to the EU increase while Yorkshire & Humber stayed the same. 

Despite the talk of 'Global Britain,' history shows that geography is always the main determinant of trade. The EU was always going to remain the main destination for manufacturers who appear to be becoming more, not less, dependent on it as a market. As a result, it is vital the Government now takes steps to reset the trading relationship with the bloc and, wherever possible, eases and simplifies trading to boost exports for SMEs in particular.
Verity Davidge Policy Director, Make UK

Manufacturing businesses have done a good job in adapting to new post-Brexit rules for trading with the EU, but ongoing Government support may well be required, particularly for firms at the smaller end of the spectrum.

Clearly, there are difficult ongoing political issues relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol. However, it's vitally important that good trading relationships with our European neighbours are maintained to ensure that trade remains as frictionless as possible.
Richard Austin Head of Manufacturing, BDO

Available resources

Industry report / Make UK