The British economy forms part of the United Kingdom’s economy.
The United Kingdom comprises Britain, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. Each of these countries runs its economy differently. Britain was the first country to industrialize. This gave it a dominant role in the eighteenth century. It was the largest and most powerful economy at the time. It did a lot of things right at that time (Harvard Business School, 2005, p.xi).
The United States and Germany became dominant after the Second World War. Britain still plays a very significant role in the global economy, alongside China, India, France, and the United States. A major part of the economic outlay of a country includes its import and export outlay. The key factors that influence Britain’s imports and exports are globalization, industrialization, living standards, and regional memberships. Globalization refers to the greater international connectivity that characterizes the relationship between various countries. Dalic (2007) refers to it as the “convergence of cultures” (p. 4).
Technological advances in IT have been a primary driver of global trends. Today, no one needs to leave his or her country to trade with another country. Globalization has made it possible to conduct all business transactions online including viewing product, placing orders, monitoring shipments and making payments. With its historical advantages, Britain has been able to take advantage of advances in IT to increase both its imports and exports over the last twenty years. Montgomery and Porter (1991) state, “increasingly, both business units and corporations must compete globally” (p. xiv).
The second significant influence to British imports and exports is industrialization. As the first country to industrialize, Britain has maintained its lead in some sectors such as in the pharmaceutical industry and financial services. The original benefits of the industrial revolution placed Britain at an advantage, with countries such as the United States catching up only after the devastating effects of the Second World War. While Britain may not be the industry leader in some of the sectors that define much of international trade such as the automobile industry, it still has a very strong presence in these sectors. On the imports side, Britain remains a major consumer of agricultural and mineral raw materials required to supply it industries. The living standards in Britain are among the highest in the world.
As the sixth largest economy in the world measured by GDP, Britain has an enviable position among her peers. It has mastered the art of maintaining a “coherent sense of direction” (Wall, 2004, p 4).Living standards define the needs that people have. This means that Britain must import certain types of products required by her people, and export some of those used in the country, which other countries need.
From Africa and Asia, Britain imports agricultural and horticultural products for food and aesthetic needs, while it exports machinery, automobiles, chemicals and pharmaceutical products. From Germany and the United states, it imports high quality domestic and industrial products that it requires to run maintain the living standards of its people. The living standards influence the products Britain must import and those it exports. The final significant influence to British imports and exports is its membership to regional and international bodies.
Britain is a member of the EU, the G6, G7, G20, World Trade Organization, and the Commonwealth of nations, among others. These organizations define many of the policies that influence international trade, which Britain must adhere. Therefore, they have a significant influence in its imports and export business. Britain seems to have taken into account Mark’s (2004) advice to exploit, “multiple sources of attractive growth” (p. 11).
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