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Where Do Inmates Get Most Of Their Meals?

It is said that half of Britain’s trade is with the EU – here’s Simon Jenkins in the Guardian.

Of course, he is………mistaken.

80% of Britain’s trade is domestic – only 20% of our trade is exports.

And of that 20%, about half admittedly goes through Rotterdam, which IS in the EU.

But of course, clearing goods through Rotterdam does not mean we are trading WITH the EU, just that we are trading VIA them.

So what percentage of our exports actually are WITH the EU?

About 40% it seems, and that figure is falling fast.

So 40% of 20% of our trade is actually WITH the EU – 8%.

Here’s Liam Halligan on that (paywall)

“UK exports to the EU amount to around 8% of GDP “

Britain already imports and exports under WTO arrangements with the US – our biggest single-country trading partner, accounting for a fifth of UK exports. The US and China sell hundreds of billions of dollars of exports to the EU each year using WTO rules – the framework, in fact, for the majority of all trade across the globe.

For many years, Britain’s trade with the EU has been falling as a share of our total overseas commerce, and in deficit – despite the much-vaunted merits of the single market and customs union. Our non-EU trade, in contrast, generates a surplus – and having grown much faster than UK-EU trade for some time, it now accounts for a clear majority of British goods and services sold abroad. Such trade is conducted largely under WTO rules.

So when you hear “Half our trade is with the EU!”


But wait a moment.

If only 40% of our exports go to the EU, where do the other 60% go?

Well, to the rest of the world.

Many of whom have no actual trade deals with us, or even the EU – they buy our stuff on good old WTO terms.

It is reasonable to assume that if trade deals were done (like the recent one with Japan, which took about five minutes, in comparison to the average 90months (!) that the EU take – when half the people round the table are ex-communists, meetings obviously take forever) then these people might buy even more of our stuff.

And some people who currently can’t afford to buy our stuff, would suddenly find themselves able to do so, and would start.

So the whole Remainer argument about lost trade starts to sound a little mad – like civil servant claiming that because an inmate gets 8% of his meals from the prison kitchen, he must stay in prison lest he starve.

It’s not rocket science, but then it’s hard to get someone to admit something when their livelihood depends on them not admitting it (h/t Upton Sinclair)

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John B
John B
11 months ago

Quite so. It is a point lost on supposedly intelligent commentators and politicians. Tariffs and non-tariffs are intended to force trade to take place within a Customs Union, so Britain’s trade with the EU, whatever its percentage, is not a matter of choice or unavailability of goods from elsewhere, it is a matter of coercion.

The EU wallahs get this even if the British bears of little brain don’t, which is why they are desperate to keep the UK coerced for evermore to prevent the inmates seeking their supper elsewhere.

Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt
11 months ago

No EU member state (including the UK as it is half in half out presently) has the majority of its external trade outside of the EU except the UK. The Customs Union and Single Market, which are part and parcel of the same edifice and must be seen as a whole, is a protectionist block; whether this model is sustainable post 1st January 2021 remains to be seen, but with the EU27’s shrinking proportion of global GDP it hardly seems like a good idea tom be so protectionist. One indicator of the challenges facing the EU is that in the… Read more »

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
11 months ago
Reply to  Leo Savantt

The highest placed continental institution on these lists is usually ETH Zurich, but they (like MIT and Imperial) are a specialist science place, as also is TUM. German universities are unusual in concentrating largely on teaching, with research mainly taking place in the many, many Max Planck Institutes, leading to both sides getting lower scores.

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