UK film product's net surplus fell 23% last year to £187m, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Exports fell from £700 million in 2001 to £657 million, while imports rose slightly from £456 million in 2001 to £470 million.

But the figures still left the film industry with a positive balance, unlike the TV sector, which showed a net deficit of £553m.

The US was the biggest market for film exports, accounting for 49%, up 1%. Europe represented almost 40%, a 5% rise, while Asia was just under 10%.

America was also by far the biggest source of imports, representing 66% of the total, a rise of 4%. Europe came in at 31%, a rise of 13%.

In terms of production, the figures showed that there was less inward investment into the UK but a sharp rise in payments to UK companies for work overseas. Receipts from abroad for the production of films in the UK slipped 4% to £222m, while payments for production work overseas rose from £50m in 2001 to £67m.

Royalty exports showed a further decline of 7% to £434m, with imports stable at £403m.