ONS Pink Book shows Britain more reliant than ever on EU trade - People's Vote

ONS Pink Book shows Britain more reliant than ever on EU trade

The latest figures from the ONS show that Britain’s reliance on trade with the European Union is growing, even as Brexit draws closer. Imports from the EU are up by more than 8% on 2016, and exports are up by nearly 14%.

The share of our exports which go to the EU has increased significantly to 44.5%. This means that our trade balance with the European Union improved by over £7.5billion in 2017 – cutting our trade deficit by over 10% in a single year. All of this fantastic progress is, however, at serious risk from Brexit – if British firms face any barriers to exporting to the EU, the damage to the economy, and our balance of trade, will be huge.

Meanwhile, we are also trading more with the rest of the world. This demonstrates clearly that Britain is free to trade as much as it wants with third countries whilst still being a member of the EU. Non-EU countries are, however, taking a smaller share of our exports than in 2016. This does not bode well for Britain’s prospects after Brexit, when we will have to significantly increase exports to the rest of the world just to make up for lost trade with the EU.


Commenting, Peter Kyle MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: 

“The EU is by far our largest and most important trading partner, as confirmed again by today’s Pink Book figures. The Government’s mad-cap plans to put up new barriers to trade with Europe for the sake of Brexit ideology is economic insanity.  

“Our international reputation as Global Britain, and as a great trading nation, is improved by our membership of the EU. Our ability to trade internationally will be diminished by Brexit, rather than enhanced.

“With Brexit looking increasingly like a threat to the prosperity of our country, it’s no wonder more and more people are joining the campaign for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. Because Brexit will affect generations for generations, so it’s only right that the whole country is able to make their voices heard.”


Notes to editors


Imports in 2017  (change from 2016)

Exports in 2017 (change from 2016)

Change in trade balance in 2017 from 2016







Rest of World






The ONS Pink Book can be read here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/datasets/9geographicalbreakdownofthecurrentaccountthepinkbook2016