Umunna – New trade stats show importance of Single Market membership

British exports to the EU have risen as exports to non-EU countries have fallen in the last quarter, new figures released today by the Office of National Statistics show. 

The figures released today, covering the three months to July 2017, show that UK exports to the EU rose by £1.8bn as exports to non-EU countries fell by £1.7bn.

This is despite the fact that some Leavers claimed that the post-referendum fall in the value of the pound would provide a “stimulus” to net exports.

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“Brexiteers repeatedly argued that the upside of crashing the pound would be that we would see a major boost in British exports. But there is scant evidence of this, and Britain’s trade deficit remains stubbornly high.

“It is also increasingly clear that any gains in manufacturing exports will not be not enough to offset the damage being done to other sectors as a result of the Government's hard Brexit plans.

“A chink of light in today’s figures is that Britain’s deficit in goods trade with other EU countries has narrowed. But this just serves to underline how crucial full membership of the Single Market is to British jobs and the economy."

/ends 

Notes to editors:

The new ONS overseas trade figures are here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/bulletins/uktrade/july2017

Professor Patrick Minford, head of the hard Brexit group Economists for Free Trade, said last year that the fall in the value of the pound, “offsets the uncertainty factor with a stimulus to net exports." 

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/13/brexit-theresa-may-pro-leave-economists-urge-embrace-unilateral-free-trade