The importance of the history and modern-day relations between the United States and the United Kingdom should not be understated. With strong cultural and financial ties between the two countries going back many years, it is clear to see that these two globally influential nations have a unique and important relationship.
In this blog, we will be looking at how this relationship came to pass, why it is financially important to both countries and how this all plays out in trade and Transatlantic shipping.
What is the relationship between USA and UK?
Relations between the United States and the United Kingdom have seen the likes of two early wars and competition for world markets. Since 1940, the countries have been close military allies enjoying the Special Relationship built as wartime allies and NATO partners.
They are bound together by shared history, an overlap in religion, common language, legal system and kinship ties that reach back hundreds of years, including kindred, ancestral lines among English Americans, Scottish Americans, Welsh Americans, Cornish Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, Irish Americans, and American Britons. Today, large numbers of expatriates live in both countries.
In the early 21st century, Britain affirmed its relationship with the United States as its “most important bilateral partnership” in the current British foreign policy. The American foreign policy also affirms its relationship with Britain as its most important relationship.
This is evidenced in aligned political affairs, mutual cooperation in the areas of trade, commerce, finance, technology, academics, as well as the arts and sciences, the sharing of government and military intelligence, and joint combat operations and peacekeeping missions carried out between the United States Armed Forces and the British Armed Forces. Canada has historically been the largest importer of U.S. goods and the principal exporter of goods to the United States.
The figures behind shipping from the USA to UK?
The cultural cross overs, demand for US products in Britain and the strong relationship between these two countries has driven the demand for Transatlantic shipping from the USA to the UK, which has historically been quick, simple and relatively affordable. To give you more background, let’s run through some facts and figures.
In 2019, United Kingdom GDP was an estimated $2.7 trillion (current market exchange rates). Real GDP was up by an estimated 1.4% and the population was 67 million.
U.S. goods and services trade with the UK totalled an estimated $273.0 billion in 2019. Exports were $147.4 billion and imports were $125.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with the UK was $21.8 billion in 2019.
Today, the UK is currently the USA’s 7th largest goods trading partner with $132.3 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2019. Goods exports totalled $69.1 billion and goods imports totalled $63.2 billion. The U.S. goods trade surplus with the United Kingdom was $5.9 billion in 2019.
Trade-in services with the UK (exports and imports) totalled an estimated $140.7 billion in 2019. Services exports were $78.3 billion; services imports were $62.3 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with the United Kingdom was $16.0 billion in 2019.
According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to the UK supported an estimated 665 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available) (238 thousand supported by goods exports and 427 thousand supported by services exports).
Freight Forwarder USA to UK: Export Data in Bullet Points
- The United Kingdom was the United States’ 5th largest goods export market in 2019.
- U.S. goods exports to the UK in 2019 were $69.1 billion, up 3.9% ($2.6 billion) from 2018 and up 51% from 2009. U.S. exports to the UK account for 4% of overall U.S. exports in 2019.
- The top export categories in 2019 were: precious metal and stone (gold) ($14 billion), aircraft ($10 billion), mineral fuels ($7.4 billion), machinery ($6.2 billion), and electrical machinery ($4.6 billion).
- U.S. total exports of agricultural products to the UK totalled $1.7 billion in 2019, our 16th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: wine & beer ($263 million), tree nuts ($211 million), prepared food ($151 million), soybeans ($100 million), and fresh vegetables ($77 million).
- U.S. exports of services to the UK were an estimated $78.3 billion in 2019, 2.6% ($2.1 billion) less than in 2018, and 50% greater than 2009 levels. Leading services exports from the U.S. to the UK were in the financial services, travel, and intellectual property (audiovisual and related products) sectors.
What to look for in a freight forwarder when shipping USA to UK
If you’re shipping cargo over a certain size and/or volume from USA to UK, then you’ll need the help of a Freight Forwarder.
An international freight forwarder is an agent that ships cargo to an overseas destination. These agents are familiar with foreign countries’ import rules and regulations, the U.S. government’s export regulations, different shipping methods, and necessary documents for foreign trade.
Freight forwarders are licensed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to handle air freight and by the Federal Maritime Commission to handle ocean freight. Freight forwarders assist exporters in preparing price quotations by advising on freight costs, port charges, consular fees, costs of special documentation, insurance costs, and the freight forwarders’ own handling fees.
They also recommend the packing methods that will protect the merchandise during transit, or they can arrange to have the merchandise packed at the port or put in containers. Freight forwarders can reserve the necessary space on a vessel, aircraft, train, or truck.
The cost of their services is a factor that should be included in the price charged to the customer. Once the order is ready for shipment, freight forwarders should review all documents to ensure that everything is in order.
Freight forwarders may also prepare the bill of lading and any special required documentation, including electronic filing in the Automated Export System (AES). After shipment, they can route the documents to the seller, the buyer, or a paying bank.
International shipping can put a lot of demand on your packaged goods. They must be packaged correctly to keep four potential problems at bay; breakage, moisture, pilferage and excess weight. Your freight forwarder will be able to provide export packing services in order to the protection of your goods and international compliance in this area.
Documentation needed when shipping USA to UK
Freight forwarders can also make arrangements with customs brokers overseas to ensure that the goods comply with customs import documentation regulations. Forwarders are specialists in this process. Several documents are commonly used in exporting, but the ones required in a particular transaction depend on the requirements of the U.S. government and the government of the importing country.
Documentation must be precise because slight discrepancies or omissions may prevent merchandise from being exported, may result in non-payment, or may even result in the seizure of the exporter’s goods by the U.S. or foreign customs officials.
Most documentation is routine for freight forwarders and customs brokers, but as the exporter, you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the necessary documents. The number and kinds of documents that the exporter must deal with vary according to the destination of the shipment.
Because each country has different import regulations, the exporter must be careful to provide all proper documentation. Remember to contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office for up-to-date foreign import information.
The Air Waybill covers an air freight shipment and can never be made negotiable. The Bill of Lading is a contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier (as with domestic shipments). For shipment by vessel, there are two types: a straight bill of lading, which is not negotiable and does not give title to the goods, and a negotiable, or shipper’s order, bill of lading. The latter can be bought, sold, or traded while the goods are in transit. The customer usually needs an original bill of lading as proof of ownership to take possession of the goods.
This is a bill for the goods from the seller to the buyer. Many governments use commercial invoices to determine the true value of goods when assessing customs duties. Governments that use the commercial invoice to control imports will often specify the invoice’s form, content and the number of copies, the language to be used and other characteristics.
The Consular Invoice is a required document in some countries. It describes the shipment of goods and shows information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment. Certified by the consular official of the foreign country, it is used by the country’s customs officials to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment.
Certificate of Free Sale
This is required in some countries for certain kinds of goods. Your state government usually supplies this document, which indicates that the goods you intend to export have been sold in that state.
Certificate of Conformity
This is required by some countries, usually for certain kinds of manufactured goods. Exporters are required to have the product analyzed and tested by an authorized third party.
Certificate of Origin
The Certificate of Origin is required by some countries. It is a signed statement that confirms the origin of the export item. Certificates of origin are usually validated by a semiofficial organization, such as a local chamber of commerce. A certificate may be required even if the commercial invoice contains the same information.
United States—Mexico—Canada Agreement (USMCA)
This is required for products traded among the signatory countries of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) if the goods are NAFTA qualified and the importer is claiming zero-duty preference under NAFTA.
This is required by some purchasers and countries to attest to the specifications of the goods shipped. The inspection is usually performed by a third party, often an independent testing organization.
Dock Receipt/Warehouse Receipt
The Dock Receipt/Warehouse Receipt is used to transfer accountability when the domestic carrier moves the export item to the port of embarkation and leaves it with the shipping line for export.
This is a government document that authorizes the export of specific items (including technology) in specific quantities to a particular destination. This document may be required for most or all exports to some countries. For other countries, it may be required only under special circumstances. (See Chapter 2 for more details.)
Export Packing List
Considerably more detailed and informative than a standard domestic packing list, the Export Packing List itemizes the material in each package and indicates the type of package used, such as a box, crate, drum, or carton. It also shows the individual net, tare, and gross weights and measurements for each package in both U.S. and metric systems.
Package markings should be shown along with references to identify the shipment. The shipper or forwarding agent uses the list to determine the total shipment weight and volume and whether the correct cargo is being shipped. In addition, U.S. and foreign customs officials may use the list to check the cargo.
This is used to assure the consignee that insurance will cover the loss of or damage to the cargo during transit.
Choose Pinnacle Freight when shipping USA to UK
If you are looking to ship to the USA from the UK, our team of experts can help you in arranging the most suitable and cost-effective way. You may also want to contact the U.S. Commercial Service UK (CS UK) at the U.S. Embassy in London. They promote exports of U.S. goods and/or services into the UK market and inward investment into the U.S. They also provide a range of services and programs to help American companies export goods and services to the United Kingdom. Find out more here.
We also recommend that you learn about Incoterms. Whilst not trans-Atlantic specific, too many customers do not understand Incoterms. This can really kill a company’s profitability if they do not understand what they are agreeing to. Use our handy guide to assist you with understanding Incoterms.
Contact Pinnacle today and speak to one of our global logistics experts for information, pricing and advice for your unique requirements.
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