EXCLUSIVE: Little Europe, Big World, Great Brexit Britain - latest figures reveal all

Most people know that about 46% of UK goods exports go to the EU

What people weren't told until now is that this is only 7.7% of GDP

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2020

If we lose all EU exports tomorrow, the economic effect would be much less than COVID



  • Big Brexit Britain and the truth about the EU’s small economic effect
  • Revealed: EU’s “Single Market” in goods - only 7.7% of UK’s GDP… and falling
  • The EU’s share of UK goods exports has been falling for years
  • Countries such as Germany have benefited far more, with 50% higher exports as proportion of GDP
  • Yet UK total exports to the non-EU World are growing fast – now 18% of UK economy
  • The UK could lose ALL EU exports and it would have less effect on UK GDP than COVID-19

This special Brexit Facts4EU.Org report includes a special insight for our readers from David Campbell Bannerman, former MEP of 10 years’ standing, crucially with many years of experience sitting on the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee.

It is well-known fact that around 46% of the UK’s goods exports go to the EU. This figure drops to 43% if services are included.

It is a lesser-known fact that a percentage of the UK’s “EU exports” in fact merely transit through Dutch and Belgian ports on their way to the rest of the world. The true percentage for “EU exports” is therefore lower than reported.

One fact which is NOT known is that the UK’s exports to the EU represent a very small proportion of the UK’s economy as a whole.

The effect of EU exports on our economy is so small in fact, that the economic effects of the Coronavirus measures will dwarf any possible Brexit impacts on GDP.

Even if EU goods exports (7.7% of GDP) are added to EU services exports (5.9%), the percentage of UK GDP arising from export trade with the EU last year only just made it into the teens.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org exposes the myths about the importance of EU trade

After extensive research into the Government’s latest figures for 2019, Brexit Facts4EU.Org can reveal some astonishing facts. We have used the latest data for 2019, from the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Putting the EU in its place, economically

  • UK's total GDP in 2019 : £2,214.9bn
  • UK goods exports to the EU : £170.6bn (7.70% of GDP)
  • UK services exports to the EU : £129.8bn (5.86% of GDP)
  • 86.4% of the UK economy has NOTHING to do with exports to the EU

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

In fact, nearly 70% of the UK economy is derived from domestic activities

  • Domestic GDP (EXCLUDING exports to all EU and non-EU destinations) 68.46%
  • GDP from non-EU goods exports : 9.12%
  • GDP from non-EU services exports : 8.87%
  • GDP from EU goods exports : 7.70%
  • GDP from EU services exports : 5.86%

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

How does the UK compare to Germany?

  • UK's GDP from EU goods exports : 7.7%
  • Germany's GDP from EU goods exports : 22.3%
  • Germany has been doing almost three times better from EU membership than the UK

Of the proportion of the UK economy derived from exports, the non-EU Rest of the World has a much larger impact than the EU. The UK’s exports of goods and services to non-EU countries in 2019 were ONE-THIRD HIGHER than to the EU27.

Former MEP and EU Parliament International Trade Committee Member,
David Campbell Bannerman, commented:-

“Your excellent research shows very strongly that the main driver of our economic wealth isn’t the EU – it’s our own economy. We're making and selling so much to ourselves. Almost 70% - as you found out - is generated within our own borders, and 86% has nothing to do with the EU.

“So this argument that we have to do a deal with the EU or we're finished is a nonsense.”

A full interview with Mr Campbell Bannerman appears in tomorrow's edition of Facts4EU.Org.

What has happened to UK goods exports to the EU’s Single Market in the past 20 years?

The story of the UK’s economic relationship with the EU’s Single Market has not been a happy one. Below we show what has happened to the proportion of the UK’s goods exports to the EU over the past 20 years.

PLEASE NOTE : This chart shows the percentage of UK goods exports which go to the EU - NOT the small percentage contribution they make to UK GDP.

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

  • In just 20 years, the share of UK goods exports going to the EU has plummeted from 60.2% to 45.8%
  • That’s a drop of ALMOST one quarter
  • It means that exports of UK goods to the EU now only represent 7.7% of UK GDP
  • Exports of UK services to the EU are even lower at 5.86% of GDP
  • Services are the lifeblood of the UK economy- around 80% of total GDP

And when it comes to services, it should be recalled what the EU’s Single Market Commissioner admitted in 2017:-

“The Single Market – this jewel that is all too often taken for granted – does not function properly for services”

- EU Commissioner for the Single Market, 2017

Given that services represents almost 80% of the UK economy, and that the Single Market has been going for over 25 years, this was an extraordinary admission.

Photo right: Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner from Poland, responsible for the Single Market

This is the Single Market which was described by the OECD in their damning 2016 report as being: “unfinished and stalled”. (This report came out just before the Referendum, but somehow the BBC forgot to mention it.)

The non-EU world is buying from the UK more and more

Below we show how the rest of the (non-EU) world has been buying more and more goods from the UK, and contributing more and more to UK GDP. In the last 20 years, while goods sales to the EU have been falling, the rest of the World has been snapping up an increasing number of products from UK companies.

Sales of goods to the rest of the (non-EU) world now account for 9.1% of GDP. And these sales have been growing.

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

And finally, what about services?

When it comes to services, the UK's sales to the rest of the (non-EU) world are far more important for UK GDP than our sales of services to the EU27.

In fact the UK’s sales are now more than 50% higher to the rest of the (non-EU) world than to the EU, as a proportion of UK GDP.


The EU is on our doorstep. We were members for 47 years. Yet the EU has a much smaller effect on UK GDP than our trading partners in other parts of the world, and the EU has been shrinking in importance for years.

In this article we have tried to put the EU’s market into context. In terms of the UK’s overall economy, the impact of our sales to the EU are much smaller than most people have been told. Even if the EU stopped buying anything from the UK tomorrow, the effect on the UK economy would be less than the effects that the Coronavirus measures are having.

Informative opinions

We asked renowned former MEP David Campbell Bannerman – a man with years of experience on the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee – for his views on our research.

Mr Campbell Bannerman is a former MEP of 10 years’ standing, former Chairman of the Conservative Bow Group, former Deputy Leader of UKIP, and crucially has many years of experience sitting on the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee. He is also the originator of the ‘SuperCanada’ trade option, for the future trade arrangement between the EU and the UK, and is an ardent Brexiteer.

EU Parliament Brexit spokesman - the Belgian Guy Verhofstadt - once called David Campbell Bannerman's comments “insane”.

We can’t think of a better recommendation for reading what Mr Campbell Bannerman has to say.

Photo left: Guy Verhofstadt, MEP from Belgium, a divided country with less than a fifth of the economic power of the United Kingdom - an extreme EU federalist politician in the EU Parliament

Here is a short excerpt from our interview with David Campbell Bannerman.

“Post COVID we've got to be much nimbler as an economy – indeed as a country.

“We've got to be more competitive, we've got to be less regulated. All of these things can be compromised by a bad deal with the EU involving regulatory control. That is not acceptable. That is too big a price to pay.

You do not want to miss David Campbell Bannerman's fascinating views on our research here tomorrow, together with his thoughts on the UK-EU trade talks.


Naturally no-one would wish away anything contributing to the UK's GDP, and this article does not say this. What it does do is to provide solid and up-to-date facts about the relative importance of EU exports to the UK economy.

This report is about context. It's about proportionality.

For years the British people have been brainwashed by previous governments, the London Establishment, Big Business, the BBC, and others into believing that exports to the EU provide the lion's share of jobs and wealth. They don't. Not even remotely close.

We remember Remainer MPs - mostly Labour, LibDem and SNP, but many Conservative MPs too - telling the public that "50% of our exports go to the EU", "our jobs depend on the EU", and other such claims. Prior to the Referendum and every day since we have tried to counter these falsehoods.

Over and over again - both before and since the EU Referendum four years ago – anti-Brexit campaigners have trotted out the same tired arguments about Brexit. One of their recurrent themes has been what they claim as being the necessity of staying in - or closely allied to - the EU’s “Single Market” and “Customs Union”. They claimed - and still do - that so much of our economy depends on this. Sadly their arguments were not based on the facts.

Our research above clearly shows how the EU has made a much smaller contribution to the UK economy and its GDP than the public has been told for so many years.

The information in our article has all been researched from official sources - in this case from the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury.

Of course it makes sense to do a trade deal with the EU - on very good terms

If an advantageous trade deal can be struck with the EU, then of course it should be done. The problem is that the EU seem to believe that the UK will do a deal at any price.

Given the current intransigence by the EU and given the relatively small contribution from the EU market to the UK's overall economy, however, it seems inevitable that Monsieur Barnier's "teek-tock" will still be ringing in his head for long after his retirement.

We hope readers agree that the above report is important, and that it was worth researching, writing, designing and publishing it. We know it's longer than most of our articles, and that it contains more facts than usual, but we felt readers would want a full picture.

We started working on it almost two weeks ago. We will probably never recover the cost of producing this report, but perhaps some readers who have never donated to us before might feel inspired to do so on this occasion. Quick and secure methods are below, your donation is confidential (unless you tell us otherwise), and you will receive a nice email from a member of our team thanking you.

We stand for freedom of speech and a fully-independent United Kingdom standing proudly on the wortld stage. Please help us to carry on fighting for this if you can. Thank you.

[ Sources: Office for National Statistics - data for latest year (2019) | Her Majesty's Treasury - data for latest year (2019) | EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 23 May 2020

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