Claim that 7.7% of UK goods exports go to the EU is a big underestimate

26th May 2020

Claim

7.7% of UK goods exports go to the EU.

Conclusion

Incorrect. 46% of UK goods exports go to the EU, according to the latest data for 2019. Those exports amount to 7.7% of GDP.

“BREXIT has seen the UK reduce EU exports to such a level that its reliance on the bloc for trade is down to a fraction of the nation's total exports, new figures reveal...

“The data, published and researched by pro-Brexit organisation Facts4EU, show that just 7.7 percent of UK goods exports were with the EU”

Express, 24 May 2020

It’s significantly wrong to say only 7.7% of UK goods exports are with the EU, as the Express claimed over the weekend. The correct figure is 46%, according to the latest available data for 2019. 

The Express misquotes figures claimed in a recent news release by Facts4EU, which is a pro-Brexit news site. Facts4EU actually said:

“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”.

Both of these figures are accurate. Goods exports to the EU were worth £170 billion in 2019, 46% of the UK’s total of £370 billion worth of goods exports. UK GDP in 2019 was about £2.2 trillion (£2,200 billion), so goods exported to the EU account for 7.7% of that. 

The 46% figure is lower than in previous years, when around half of the UK’s goods exports normally went to the EU. Counting services exports as well, 43% of the UK’s goods and services exports went to the EU in 2019.