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Widening EU trade deficit doesn’t tell us much about Brexit

10 May 2016

Television camera in a television studioResponding to the latest UK trade figures, which show the trade deficit widened in the first quarter of the year, albeit shrinking slightly in March, Allie Renison, Head of EU and trade policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Although the trade deficit was over £13 billion for the first quarter, there is some positive news here given that March was the third straight month in which the deficit narrowed. Given the gap has shrunk significantly since January, it is hard to draw a firm conclusion about what impact EU referendum uncertainty is having on trade.”

“The UK’s trade deficit with the EU continues to widen to record levels, but we should be careful about politicising this in the context of the referendum. Trade links with the EU will continue to be important whether we leave or stay. Even with the problems in the Eurozone, a majority of exporting IoD members say that the EU is the market in which they have seen the most growth over the past two years.

“Our trade surplus in services continues to grow despite the wider slowdown we’re seeing in the UK services sector overall. High growth markets such as India and China are beginning to mature and focus on consumption and domestic demand, meaning that services hold the key to the UK’s future export success.”

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