The Remain campaign leaflet says “44% of our exports go to the EU”. So the exports are important to us implying that we must stay in. Yes. But
- a) Leaving does not mean that trade all stops.
- b) This 44% was almost right in 2014 but it is reducing because our exports to other countries is increasing.
- c) 44% is also a bit on the high side because it counts all the goods that are exported from the UK to the rest of the world that happen to go in a container ship via Rotterdam as exports to the EU! Everyone claims it is too difficult to work out how big this Rotterdam effect is but someone must have the data somewhere. All those containers have manifests and are tracked.
Not massively bad but still overstating the point slightly.
One thing is true: if we leave the EU we instantly become their biggest export market. Yes they (the rest of the EU) export more goods to us than to anywhere else. So that might give us a stronger hand than is suggested by these figures.
It is worth saying again that if everyone (that means you too Mr EU) obeyed the WTO’s MFN rule none of this would matter since we would get the same deal as everyone else but I might have misunderstood the MFN rule.