UK-EU exports in decline? Are they?

Trade with the EU is decreasing.  Or is it?   An oft heard claim that the UKs trade with the EU is falling and that the UK should leave the EU to be able to trade more with the rest of the world.

This is evidenced by the fact that UK exports to other European Union countries was 54.8% back in 1999, and yet in 2014 the percentage of UK exports to other EU countries was down to 44.6% of all our exports.   The LeaveEU campaigns say that this is the result of failing economies inside the European Union.

However, what they fail to recognise is that every year from 1993 right through to the latest set of figures available the UKs exports to other EU countries in value terms have INCREASED.

So why is the percentage falling? I hear you ask.   Allow me to explain:

As members of the EU, the United Kingdom enjoys a raft of ‘Most Preferred Nation’ trade agreements with other countries around the world.  53 additional trade agreements outside the EU.

As a result of having better access to Rest of World (RoW) markets, the UK has been increasing its exports in terms of value to nations all around the world.   And while we export mostly goods (around two thirds of UK exports) to the EU nations, our exports to RoW is mostly made up of financial services.

As the value of exports to RoW countries are increasing faster than the rate of increase in value of our exports to the EU this means that the percentage of EU exports of the total falls.

The LeaveEU campaigns have jumped on the fact that the %age to the EU is falling and claimed that this is a reason why we should leave he EU – however, this is a false premise.   The truth is that the UK is able to trade all over the world, wherever and whenever we want to and we are getting more successful.

A vote to leave the EU will not make trade easier anywhere, we already trade around the globe – leaving the EU will make all our trading more difficult.

Office for National Statistics archive data:

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