EXCLUSIVE: UK is EU27’s No.1 market in the world for services

EU refuses to grant ‘equivalency’ to UK services, but expects UK to keep buying from EU

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2021

Facts4EU.Org blows the lid off the latest official export figures from the EU

Last week, virtually unreported in the UK, the EU’s statistics agency released its latest data on services - imports and exports.

The EU did its best to hide the uncomfortable facts as usual, but the largest market for EU27 exports of services is........... Yes, the UK.

This is important because the EU refused to discuss services – which represent 80% of the UK’s economy – when it negotiated with the UK on the UK-EU ‘Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ last year. The whole area of services – including the all-important banking and financial services sectors in the City of London, Edinburgh, and other centres in the UK – were specifically excluded by the EU when Michel Barnier held his marathon trade talks with Lord Frost.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Why won't the EU admit the cold, hard truth?

  • The UK is the EU’s No.1 export market for services
  • Over 1/5th (21.3%) of all the EU’s exports of services go to the UK
  • For the EU, the UK market is larger than the USA
  • As a customer of the EU27’s services, the UK is over four times larger than China
  • The UK has recognised EU standards and allowed EU services in the UK, but the EU has failed to reciprocate

Below we show the EU’s own official ‘Top 10 countries’ for its exports of services

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

The UK is easily the EU27’s most important customer for services.
For the EU, the UK is bigger than the Arabian Gulf, Central America, South America,
Western Asia, and Africa COMBINED.

How did the EU report this news?

It will not surprise regular readers of Facts4EU.Org to learn that the EU’s presentation of its latest data for the export of services from EU27 countries was published in very different terms.

© EU Commission 2021

Firstly, the EU placed the US ahead of the UK in its headline. In fact the EU sells significantly more to the UK per annum than it does to the USA.

The publication by the EU Commission’s statistics agency went on:

“In 2019, the EU’s leading trade partners for services were the United States and the United Kingdom. The United States was the destination for almost a fifth (19%) of the services exported from the EU Member States and was the origin of almost a quarter (23%) of the services imported into the EU from non-member countries. The United Kingdom closely followed (21% of extra-EU exports and 18% of extra-EU imports of services), ahead of Switzerland (11%, 7%).”

- EU Commission statistics agency, 24 February 2021

The language used by the EU Commission obfuscates the simple fact that the EU27 sold more services to the UK than to any other country – including the United States. It is only by including the services which the US sold to the EU that the EU was able to make it sound as if the US was the larger market.

Facts4EU.Org interrogated the latest raw data released last week from the EU’s statistics agency to verify the facts. The UK is the EU27’s No.1 market for services – according to the EU’s own official figures.


Where's the love?

In 2019 more than one-fifth of all the EU27’s exports of services in the world were bought by its nearest neighbour, Brexit Britain.

In light of this, it might be thought that the EU would have been keen to strike a deal with its largest customer regarding the provision of services from the EU to the UK and vice versa.

In fact the opposite happened. The United Kingdom unilaterally granted ‘equivalence’ for service providers from the EU, recognising their regulatory standards and giving them the ability to continue to sell to Brexit Britain from 01 January 2021. When it came to the EU allowing British companies to sell services in its member countries, however, the EU has singularly failed to reciprocate.

Indeed, when it comes to the area of banking and financial services – an area of great strength and not inconsiderable economic importance for the UK – it is as if the EU has gone on a war footing, eager to seize as much business from the UK as possible by refusing to grant access to its markets.

It might be argued that the EU’s approach to the UK has now gone beyond the over-active protectionism for which the EU is starting to become notorious around the world and is now entering the realms of aggressive action against its nearest neighbour.

Given this background it will be interesting to see how Lord Frost responds, now that he has taken up his new role chairing the two UK-EU committees responsible for developing the future relationship between the EU and its former member. We very much hope that he will be more robust than his predecessor, Michael Gove.

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[ Sources: EU Commission official statistics agency Eurostat | No.10 statements ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Wed 03 Mar 2021

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