Q3: Don’t we have to be in the EU as half our trade is with the EU?
A3: ‘Half our trade’ does not mean ‘half our economy’- let’s get it in proportion. Most British trade is within Britain – 80% of our economy is British citizens and businesses buying British goods and services. Some 20% of our economy depends on international trade; and less than half of that (around 8%) is trade with the EU. Britain is increasingly trading more with the Rest of the World than with the EU.
Non-EU member countries such as Norway and Switzerland enjoy very beneficial trading relationships with the EU thanks to their free trade agreements. On leaving the EU, Britain would secure a similar, if not better, free trade agreement with the EU as its biggest customer and a major world economy. Our trading position will benefit from reduced regulation and taxes, and more appropriate free trade agreements with other countries.
In addition, the EU export figures are skewed upwards by the ‘Rotterdam-Antwerp Effect’ and the ‘Netherlands Distortion’.
This is where UK exports to non-EU countries sent via a transhipment centre such as Rotterdam are counted as exports to the EU, even though their ultimate destination is not in the EU. The UK will be able to secure a very advantageous EEA Lite agreement with the EU. The UK is the EU’s second biggest trading partner after Germany - bigger even than France and the EU enjoys a sizeable trading surplus with the UK.
Eurozone 2011 goods exports in descending order, by country, billions of Euros:
(Source Table 7.5 – 3 – Geographical Breakdown – ECB Monthly Breakdown – February 2013)
from "Time to Jump" By David Campbell Bannerman MEP