International Influences Affecting Great Britain
Great Britain remains one of the world's most important industrial nations and an active participant in world trade. External trade for the United Kingdom (Great Britain and United Kingdom are used interchangeably) for 1986 is shown in Table 1. The distribution of trade in export markets in descending order are the United States, West Germany, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, BelgiumLuxembourg, Sweden, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland. For 1986, export proportions for major trade areas are as follows: the United States, 14.2%, the European Economic Community (EEC) including Ireland, 48.0%; The Commonwealth excluding Canada, 8.8%; Canada, 2.3%; the Middle East, 6.9%; and Soviet Eastern Europe, 1.6%. Through the postwar period, British exports have moved away from the Commonwealth nations toward European markets, especially as a result of British entry in the EEC. In the past 28 years, the British share of world exports of manufactures has declined from 18.2% in 1958 to 7.6% in 1986. This shift is the result of new and more aggressive competitors such as Japan and internally because of low investment, high production costs, and less than aggressive management.