I noticed with concern the comments by Graeme Macdonald, Chief Executive Officer of JCB, that quitting the EU would not make any difference to the UK’s trade with the rest of Europe (19th May 2015).
The EU is the largest Single Market in the world, with a population of 500 million, and its economy is seven times the size of the UK economy. For Scotland, where trade accounts for a larger proportion of the economy than is the case for the UK as a whole, our continued membership of the European Union clearly provides the easiest access to markets. Indeed, just under half of our international exports are destined for countries within the European Union, with an estimated value of £12.9 billion.
Being part of the European Union therefore means that Scotland’s domestic market has a population of more than half a billion and a GDP of over £9 trillion. It is more than likely that outwith the EU companies such as JCB would continue to sell their products worldwide. However, the UK’s ability to access international markets as a result of trade agreements made at EU level, as well as bilateral agreements, would be substantially reduced and our companies would potentially face tariffs over which they would have limited influence.
The UK is more successful being part of a larger trading block, with the ability to directly influence the direction of travel, and as a home for inward investment, than outside the tent with a fraction of the ability to influence key economic decisions.
Dan Macdonald Founder
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Edinburgh EH2 4LH
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