Trade within the EU

Central to the Leave argument is the idea that the (rest of the) EU needs with the UK more than the UK needs to trade with the EU. On these grounds any post Brexit negotiations will be loaded in favour of the UK

I will give two reasons here why that isn't true. This isn't based on scare stories, just a bit of psychology.

  1. As this diagram shows, our trade with the EU 44% of all our trade, but only 13% of theirs. So any fall in this trade by, say 50% would mean the UK had 22% of trade to 'replace' with other trade, but the EU will only need to find 6.5% extra trade to keep at the same level. I'm not trying for any 'scare story here' - I don't know exactly how much trade will be effected - my 50% is a working figure. But this shows who would be hit most is trade between the UK and the other 27 member states takes a hit, which shows who would have the stronger hand in negotiations
  2. Even if the trade statistics were closer than that, we have to assume that the EU negotiators are going to be true believers in the EU project even if we are not. Every concession that is given to the UK would give encouragement to anti-EU elements in their own countries. You might think this 'self interest' position doesn't put the EU in a positive light. If you tend to the Eurosceptic that would be an reasonable reaction. You might think this is petty but its also human nature. But that is what Brexit negotiators would be facing