This claim needs to be put into perspective: 80% of the UK economy is economic activity within the UK. This is UK citizens and UK businesses buying UK goods and services. Of the 20% of the UK economy that depends on international trade, around half (i.e. 10% of the total) is trade with the EU. Of that 10%, a sizeable number is services and investment income, which aren’t subject to tariffs.
Regarding ‘trade in goods’, EU trade figures are artificially boosted by the ‘Rotterdam and Antwerp effect’ – this is where UK exports to non-EU countries are sent via transhipment centres such as Rotterdam and Antwerp. Sadly this ‘trade in goods’ is counted as ‘EU exports’ even though their ultimate destination is outside the EU. It is distortions like the Rotterdam and Antwerp effect that make it difficult to gauge the exact degree the EU affects our economy.
Therefore, roughly 5-8% of the British economy is ‘trade in goods’ with the EU. More conservative estimates have suggested 10%. There is no reason why this trade shouldn’t continue, however, as we are the EU’s biggest customer. It will continue to sell to us and we will continue to sell to it. Outside the EU, however, our economy will be free from compulsory EU rules and regulations that are holding EU economies back.
When we leave the EU, Britain won’t be alone. Great Britain is a global nation with extensive, historic trading links across the world. Outside the European Union we will reclaim our seat at the World Trade Organisation, a seat we vacate because the EU currently speaks for us during WTO trade talks. From that position we will be able to negotiate our own trade deals with emerging, successful economies and generate new jobs in the UK.
To reiterate, trade with the EU will continue. Article 3 of the EU Lisbon Treaty says that “in its relations with the wider world, the Union shall contribute to free and fair trade”. Article 8 says “the Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness”. Incidentally, the EU sells more to us than we do to it. We want a friendly relationship to continue, but we object to EU rules holding back the 90% of the British economy that has nothing to do with it.
Thanks to Get Britain Out