The UK’s trade with the USA
4th Nov 2016
The US is the largest economy in the world.
It’s the first or second largest, depending on how you measure it.
The US is the UK’s second largest trading partner.
Claim 1 of 2
“America is our most important ally, the most important country that we have to work with, both in terms of our prosperity, as our second largest trading partner, it’s the largest economy in the world, it’s vitally important to our security. So whoever is installed in the White House, we’re going to have to work with them.”
Sajid Javid, 3 November 2016
There are three claims here. One about the USA’s importance as a trading partner, one about the size of its economy, and one about its importance as a military and diplomatic ally.
The USA is the UK’s second largest trading partner
It’s correct that the US is the UK’s second largest trading partner after the EU, if you combine together the value of imports and exports.
The USA is the first or second largest economy in the world...
...depending on how you measure it.
If you measure GDP in terms of the dollar value of the economy, the US is the largest economy in the world.
The US and the UK have a so-called ‘special relationship’
It’s often said that the UK and the USA have a ‘special relationship’ when it comes to foreign affairs, and statements from both governments often re-assert this. Chatham House, a think tank, has said that although the meaning and implications of the ‘special relationship’ are often debated in the UK, they are unquestioned in mainstream US politics.
The relationship between UK security and our relations with the US is a complex issue, and not something we can write about conclusively.
Update 25 July 2017
We've updated this piece with the latest figures for the 2016/17 financial year.
We've also corrected an error in the previous version, which stated that 17% of the UK's exports went to the US in 2015 - this should have read 20%.
This fact check is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time, factchecked. Read the roundup.