A 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. http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/mobu/mb201302en.pdf
€urozone 2011 goods exports in descending order, by country, billions of €uros:
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!