Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The UK needs to leave the eu

Daniel Hannan on the case against the eu.>There is usually a time lag in politics. Pundits carry on citing obsolete statistics for years. Even when they catch up with the facts, they are slow to adjust their world-view to them.
How often, for example, do you hear politicians and journalists claiming that ‘half our exports’ – or even ‘the majority of our exports’ – go to the EU?
I’m not sure this statistic was ever properly true. The data were distorted in two ways. First, there is what economists call the ‘Rotterdam effect’: many British exports destined for non-EU markets are routed through Antwerp and Rotterdam, thus showing up in the raw numbers as exports to the EU. Second, ‘UK exports to the Republic of Ireland’ in reality include many goods from overseas that have been shipped through Belfast.
Be that as it may, the EU now accounts, on any measure, for a minority of our trade. The Treasury Pink Book, the OECD, the European Commission: all now put the figure at below 50 per cent. The latest official figures, published by the Office of National Statistics on 11 September, show that the EU now accounts for 43.6 per cent of our exports, the lowest share since the current measure was introduced in 1988.
Never mind a percentage point here or there, though. The trend is unarguable. Every continent in the world is growing except Europe. Our exports to the EU fell by 7.3 per cent in the last three months for which we have data, while our exports to the rest of the world rose by 13.2 per cent.

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