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92 per cent of the UK Trade Deficit in the last five years was with EU-26

UK Trade with the world outside the EU is almost in balance

The UK traded in deficit with nineteen of its twenty-six EU partners in 2010

Between 2008, when recession took hold, & 2010, UK exports outside the EU shrank by only 3%; but exports to EU-26 plunged by almost a quarter.

Markets outside the EU, with which the UK traded in surplus in 2010, seem to be more stable than those of EU-26, with which the UK trades in massive & permanent deficit.

The UK Cash Gross Contribution to EU Institutions continued its inexorable upward march, costing the British taxpayer £ 51 million per day in 2010.

  • In 2010, 56% (probably 60% or more if account is taken of the Rotterdam-Antwerp Effect & the Netherlands Distortion) of British exports went to the world outside the EU.
  • In 2010, the UK traded in surplus with the world outside the EU.
  • In 2010, 44% of British exports (probably 40% or less if account is taken of the Rotterdam-Antwerp Effect & the Netherlands Distortion) went to EU-26.
  • In 2010, the UK traded in massive deficit – a record £ 52 billion – with EU-26.
  • The current recession began 2008. UK exports to EU-26 shrank in 2009 and again in 2010. However, though UK exports to the Rest of the World outside the EU also shrank in 2009, they recovered in 2010.
  • Cumulatively, over the period 2006 – 2010, the UK deficit with EU-26 accounted for 92 % of the deficit with the whole world. Cumulatively, on its trade with the world outside the EU, the UK has been almost in balance.
  • On its trade with the whole world in 2010 the UK ran large deficits on Goods & Transfers (£ 118 bn), and surpluses on Services & Income (£ 82 bn).
  • In 2010, UK exports of Goods („visibles‰) accounted for 43% of all UK exports worldwide. “Invisibles” (Services, Income & Transfers) accounted for 57% of all UK exports worldwide. In other words, for the UK, the export value of “invisibles” is 33% (57 minus 43 divided by 43) higher than the export value of “visibles”.
  • The UK appears to have a structural surplus on its trade with the USA. In 2010, the UK surplus remained above £ 20 billion. The cumulated trade surplus with the USA over the five–year period 2006-2010 is £ 107 bn, compared with a cumulative deficit with EU-26 over the same period of £ 143 bn.
  • The UK appears to have a structural surplus on its trade with Switzerland, recording a surplus with that country in seven of the eight last years.
  • The UK appears to have a structural surplus on its trade with Australia, recording a surplus with that country in each of the eight last years.
  • In 2010, the UK Gross Cash Contribution to EU Institutions hit a new record of £ 18.4bn, equivalent to £ 51 million per day. UK Gross & Net Contributions began rising sharply from 2009 onwards as a result of the abandonment by Mr Blair, then Prime Minister, on 17th December 2005, of part of the Fontainebleau Abatement.

Notes & Data Sources

*The Pink Book 2011, 23rd November 2011, www.statistics.gov.uk > Economy > Balance of Payments > The Pink Book 2011. In 2011 the Pink Book was published approximately four months later than usual. The statistical data summarised in this Briefing Note is from Chapter 9: Geographical Breakdown of Current Account , starting on page 96.

Payments to & from supra- & international organisations, & remittances by expatriates, which are included in “Transfers”, are not strictly–speaking “Trade”, but a large proportion of them are trade-related. HM Government itself justifies UK net payments to the EU on the implausible grounds (unsupported by any evidence) that “the UK needs to be in the EU for trade”.

The data above is not adjusted for the Rotterdam-Antwerp Effect (described on page 159 of the Pink Book 2011) or the separate Netherlands Distortion (see Global Britain Briefing Note No 64, “The Rotterdam-Antwerp Effect & the Netherlands Distortion” 7th January 2011).

The effect of these two distortions is to significantly overstate (in the Pink Book) the value of UK exports to EU-26, & to significantly understate the value of UK exports to the world outside the EU.

For full tables go to the pdf version.


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