London goods exports grow to record high


Latest HMRC data shows that as well as overseas demand for goods from the capital being at a record high, the region has now recorded 3 consecutive years of growth in goods exports.

  • Goods exports from London in the 2018/19 financial year grew at 6.7% to a record high of £38.9 billion.
  • London has now recorded 3 consecutive financial years of goods export growth.
  • London Tea Exchange are the latest UK exporters to be tapping into growing overseas demand.

Despite an increasingly challenging global economic environment, the world continues to demand British goods from regions right across the country. HMRC data released today (6th June) shows that goods exports from the capital in the 2018/19 financial year grew by 6.7% to a record high of £38.9 billion. Goods exports from London have now grown for 3 consecutive years.

As well as increased demand for goods manufactured in the capital, the number of businesses from the region exporting goods abroad has shot up. In the 1st quarter of 2019, 18,314 London based businesses exported abroad, 1,248 more than during the same period in the previous year.

The surge in London goods exports was largely driven by mineral fuels, which increased in value by 25.2% to £7.2 billion.


Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, said:

“I am delighted that goods exports from London have boasted particularly impressive growth rates over the past financial year, which is a consequence of the outstanding quality of produce and resilience of businesses across the region.

“When local Businesses trade internationally, they provide profound economic benefits to the local economy, including more jobs and cheaper goods. By diversifying their markets globally, businesses of all sizes can benefit from increased competitiveness, which encourages greater innovation and prosperity.

“I encourage businesses throughout London to use todays statistics as evidence that despite the global headwinds getting stronger, the world demands British goods at unprecedented levels. My international economic department is keen to work with businesses to ensure their full exporting potential is unlocked.”

London Tea Exchange, a retailer on Brick Lane that boasts the largest premium tea collection in the world, is exporting for the first time after securing orders worth £2.5m from Sweden.

The orders, which came from retailers and distributors, are set to increase the business’ £360,000 turnover by six fold.

One of the company’s new Swedish customers is international beverage retailer, Wayne’s Coffee.

The six-figure deal, due to commence in March 2019, will see the London Tea Exchange’s teas stocked in 166 Wayne’s outlets around the world, including 95 locations in Sweden and eight locations in China.

London Tea Exchange began trading in 2014 and opened its first permanent store in Brick Lane last November.

The company has been supported in its export ventures by the Department for International Trade (DIT), which provided an International Trade Adviser (ITA) to work with London Tea Exchange on its path to export, offering support and advice in developing its export strategy.

The ITA has also introduced London Tea Exchange to colleagues in British embassies and consulates in markets of interest – including China, Mexico and Bangladesh – to help it develop new export opportunities.

The business is looking to extend its reach to 20 overseas markets by the end of 2019, and to 60 overseas markets by 2021.

London Tea Exchange currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest collection of premium teas, with its Brick Lane store stocking 825 varieties. Its product range is the result of 15 years of research and development, during which time its chief executive, Aliur Rahman, travelled to 80 countries worldwide in search of rare and fine teas.

After an extensive process involving feedback from 500,000 consumers, London Tea Exchange selected 28 of its most popular teas to produce in a teabag format. It now sells this selection to its new partners in Sweden and is looking to sell globally

Aliur Rahman, chief executive, London Tea Exchange, said:

“There’s huge demand for high-quality teas around the world, and we developed our business with exporting in mind.

“As we’ve been developing our business, our ITA has been my go-to contact for any exporting questions or issues we’ve had and has helped us prepare for selling overseas.

“For example, as we were designing our packaging, DIT advised us to consider how we would handle the language barrier. As a result, we’ve printed our labels in 5 languages – Swedish, Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese and English – to ensure we need minimal changes for any future export growth.

“The Scandinavian tea market can be a tricky one to crack as tea isn’t as popular there as other drinks such as coffee. However, for our first export market we wanted somewhere where we could really test the products we’d developed, and so it was a contrarian choice, but one that paid off.

“Sweden has already been a huge success, and we are now of the mindset that if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere. There’s real opportunity overseas – if we can find export success, others can too.”