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Global Trade

The UK’s luxury industry is an export success story and highly oriented to international markets, with 2022 exports totalling £56bn, which represents a 45% increase over export sales of £38.5bn in 2017.
However, sometimes trade policy can bring challenges to luxury businesses, such as the recent US retaliatory tariffs on whisky and cashmere. In 2021 Walpole – along with many members and other businesses – was successful in working with the Government to bring an end to these tariffs which were a significant burden on luxury businesses.
As this shows, exports are foundational to the business model of the sector. As such Walpole has a highly developed programme of international work beyond public policy. Walpole works closely with the UK Government to ensure a favourable trading environment, and ensure that the Government is able to access the insight and information member businesses hold about trading conditions around the world.
British products thrive in markets across the globe, however there are several key markets for UK luxury. The EU/European Economic Area (EEA) including Switzerland remains the UK luxury sector’s biggest market, representing 32% of overall exports. North America is the second largest export market for UK luxury goods, accounting for 24% of total exports and representing the largest market for high-end automotive. Between 2017 and 2022, the Gulf region increased its share to 14% and overtook China (11%) as the third largest export destination for UK luxury goods. The Gulf is a particularly strong market for exports of jewellery, watches and precious metals, as well as aviation and yachting.
Walpole is calling on the Government to:
Ensure that key luxury sectors are represented in trade negotiations to maximise growth for the UK economy
Deliver an ambitious FTA with India that enables growth in whisky, automotive and other luxury goods trade
Ensure that UK-made products are protected from the threat of retaliatory tariffs and other trade challenges

Walpole consistently raises issues with ministers, civil servants and other politicians. If you want to help us do so, please let us know.