We keep being told how important the EU single market is to the UK, don't we? But what do the official EU statistics say? Let's take a look shall we?
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The latest EU Single Market Scoreboard issued yesterday and brought to my attention by facts4eu.org via Twitter, shows some interesting information.
Within the report is a section on Integration and Market Openness that shows data on the amount of goods and services imported and exported between EU member states and the wider world.
It also has an indicator that shows the level of EU trade in goods integration that each member state enjoys.
The report uses the latest data available, which is up to 2017.
But before I go into more detail I just want to remind everyone that, according to statistica.com, in 2018 the UK was the third largest contributor to the EU in that we provided Brussels with 11.88% of its budget. Germany was first with 20.78%, France was second with 15.58% and Italy fourth with 11.74%.
So, where do you think we are on the EU trade in goods integration table?
Well, you can see from this graph that the UK is in last place!
That's right, last.
The graph shows the last three years for each member state and, for all the talk about how important the EU single market is for the UK, it doesn't seem to be integrated too much into our economy does it?
In 2015 we had an integration indicator percentage of 9.3, this went up to 9.7 in 2016 and broke through the ten percent barrier in 2017 to reach 10.3%.
Compare that to the EU average of 19.6%
This indicator is the percentage of a country's GDP that is accounted for by trade in goods with EU countries as an average of imports and exports.
And remember that we are the third largest contributor to the EU coffers.
Then we come to the percentage of GDP that represents exports in goods to the rest of the EU by each member state.
So, as the Remainers are so sure that this is central to our economy, where do you think we sit on this table?
Well on this indicator we lie second – from the bottom, with 8%.
Yes we are the third largest contributor to the EU, just so we can export the second lowest amount of goods in GDP terms to the rest of the EU.
Does that sound like a good bargain to you? Especially when as a whole, the average is 20.2%.
Also, on digging further in, the data shows that when you compare the proportion of goods exported by the UK to the EU compared to the total exported around the globe, we are fourth from bottom with 49%. I do wonder if the Rotterdam effect has been factored out here, as if it hasn't then the true figure is lower.
Each of the other 24 EU member states above us on that measure, export more as a percentage to the EU than they do to the rest of the world.
And by the way, that 48% of goods exports figure for the UK is the 8% of GDP I talked about earlier.
And that 48%, that is 8% of GDP, is used by Remainers to say that 'half UK trade goes to the EU', to try and make it seems like we export half of absolutely all the goods we produce to the EU – do you remember that in the run up to the EU referendum in 2016? But no, by the EU's own figures it's only 8%.
Now compare that to our imports of 12.6% in GDP terms from the EU and 10.6% from the rest of the world. So we import half again as much from the EU as we export to it.
Let's now compare our goods exports of 8% to the EU and 8.5% to the rest of the world with that of Germany that lies in quite a low 22nd position in this regard and only three places above our 25th place.
Germany exports 16.4% of its GDP in goods to the rest of the world and 22.3% to the EU. A total of 38.7% with 58% of all that going to the other EU member states.
Ah, but UK is a service economy I hear you say, so we must be doing really well with the exports of services to the rest of the EU surely?
And yes we are doing better here. On this indicator we are third – from the bottom with 5.6% compared to an EU average of 7.5%.
Then when you look across the board at the levels of imports and exports to and from the UK in goods and services to both the rest of the world and the EU27 you realise that the UK is at or near the bottom of just about every single table.
The only tables where we show more positive UK results are the ones that indicate an improvement from a rubbish rating to a little bit less of a rubbish rating.
In one way this could be seen as a good thing, that we are possibly more self-sufficient and therefore also, by definition, more 'Green' when it comes to transporting goods around the globe than other EU states.
But what it really shows is how our membership of the EU has not made the UK into an international player as the Remainers would try and have you believe.
We are subject to exactly the same rules and regulations as Germany is, except where the UK has 'gold plated' them and made them more stringent than the EU minimum.
So why is the UK not benefiting hugely from the amount of money it puts in?
Why are we not exporting more to both the EU and the rest of the world?
Exactly how has an enforced increase in net migration of hundreds of thousands a year benefited our international trade?
How has subjecting the UK to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) helped here?
All those EU council meetings, all those EU parliament debates, all those EU ambassadors and the like that we have had over the decades as well as all those trade deals the EU is supposed to have come up with and it hasn't opened up either the world markets or the EU market in any meaningful way for the UK has it?
The EU's own figures show this whole project does not work for the UK. The sooner we're out, the better!