What strange objects does the UK import?
The vast technological advances of recent decades has produced a world that feels much smaller and much more interconnected than at any other point in history. An event that occurs in one part of the globe can be spread millions of miles in just minutes. We are now a world that is built on international co-operation and organisations that exist across borders and are made up by countries that are extremely different in almost every way, and yet now share ideas and policies and goals.
But this increasingly globalised world also means that trade is a more important part of national economies, and the global economy, than ever. Every nation state now has trade at the heart of their revenues, their business environment, and of their supply of goods vital to their economy. Whilst many free trade agreements have been controversial political issues in themselves in recent years, the exchange of goods between nations is the lifeblood of the world.
But some objects that are traded between nations are not quite what you’d expect. Some very odd and unexpected items are exported to the UK by other countries, and are often the biggest export to the United Kingdom from that country. There are a lot of nations out there trading with the UK, but here are some of the weirdest or most unexpected objects that are sent to Britain in large quantities each year.
Insect resins from Chad
A naturally-occurring organic compound which is often used in many products such as glazing and finishes, insect resin is the biggest export from the African nation of Chad to the UK. This product makes up a stunning 93% of trade between the two nations and was worth approximately $796,000 in 2017. The next biggest Chadian import to Britain is x-ray commitment, worth just $27,000 in the same year.
Chemical analysis instruments from Montserrat
Whilst the UK doesn’t do much trade with its tiny Caribbean overseas territory of Montserrat, it did, in 2016, receive chemical analysis instruments from this small trading partner. This was the main export from the exotic island to the UK in that year. This accounted 52% of Montserrat’s $4,340 of exports to the UK but accounted for none of the goods it sent to the UK in 2017, when trade was worth over $28,000.
Sports equipment from Samoa
Perhaps the most bizarre good on this list that is exported to the UK is from the small pacific island nation of Samoa who, it appears, have a strong trade in sports equipment, sending the UK over $1 million worth in 2016 and $1.73 million worth in 2017. This accounted for 70% of Samoa-UK trade in 2016 and 42% in 2017 when it was, just as strangely, beaten by $1.93 million of video recording equipment.