The UK: the EU’s largest export market

eu-map-uk-highlightedA simple and striking fact, which is little-known and has astonished a number of folk in the EU institutions in Brussels: when Britain leaves the EU, it will become the EU’s largest export market.  Bigger than the USA.  Bigger than China. 
Some people ask whether it will be possible to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the EU when we leave.  But with the EU scrabbling to set up FTAs with a host of countries around the world, it is inconceivable that they would not agree an FTA with their largest export customer — especially when that customer is also a major net customer.  We import far more from the EU than they import from us.  An FTA will benefit both sides, but arguably it will benefit them more than us.
I was in the Philippines recently, and mentioned this fact to an official at the EU “Embassy”.  He simply couldn’t believe it, so I dug our the figures.
The data I am quoting are for exports from the €urozone, not EU minus UK.  But of course the €urozone is not a bad surrogate for the EU minus the UK.  I’ve taken the numbers from the ECB’s Monthly Bulletin for February 2013, page 173.
€urozone 2011 goods exports in descending order, by country, billions of €uros:
UK           213.4
USA        200.6
China      115.5
Switz       109.2
Russia      79.8
Sweden    60.4
Turkey       56.7
Japan        39.4
The UK represented over 12% of all €urozone exports.  Far from being “isolated and marginalised”, an independent Britain will be a key trading partner of Europe.  Roll on Independence Day!

Roger Helmer is UKIP’s spokesman on Industry and Energy
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