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United Kingdom

Population:  61 million, of which 84 per cent live in England.

Political structure:  Great Britain comprises England, Wales and Scotland, and with Ireland forms the United Kingdom.  It is a constitutional monarchy.  The capital is London.

The UK is a member of the OECD, European Union and World Trade Organisation but does not use the Euro, its currency is the pound sterling.  The official language is English.

Economy:  London is the world’s largest financial centre and the headquarters of major banks, insurers and other financial groups.  This made the economy vulnerable during the global economic downturn and sent the UK into recession last year and there is now debate about whether the economy is too dependent on financial services.  The UK is still a significant manufacturer, exporting autos, machine tools, automation tools and telecommunications.  Although the UK produces oil, its reserves are in decline and it has become a net importer of oil.

Major export partners are other European countries and the United States.  Commodity exports include cars, semi manufactures and chemicals.


Updated September 2009

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