Massive increases in exports of services — to the USA, to the EU27, and to the Rest of the World

Graham Charles Lear
3 min readFeb 7, 2022

The latest data released by the Office for National Statistics shows how much Brexit Britain has completely confounded the Prophets of Project Doom since the United Kingdom voted for its independence from the EU in 2016.

In just five years, the UK’s exports of services have grown by an astonishing 37.4% worldwide. What is even more startling, exports of services to the EU27 have grown by an even higher percentage: 43.8%.

And to cap it all, services exports to the USA — remember President Obama’s “back of the queue” threat? — have soared by 55.6%.

Growth in exports of services by Brexit Britain since the EU Referendum

  • To USA : +55.6%
  • To EU27: +43.8%
  • To Asia: +22.0%
  • To the World: +37.4%

Confounding the critics of Brexit with real-life, official facts

What is even more extraordinary is that the data above goes up to 2020 — the first year of Covid — when businesses generally were under extreme pressure. (Data for services always lags behind data for trade in goods, and the EU also released its data up to 2020 at the same time as the ONS.)

It should be said that the ONS excludes travel and transport in its figures, which were of course badly hit in 2020, but then it also excludes banking — where the UK is dominant in Europe.

EU admits UK is its №1= market, shared with the USA, for services

In tandem with the Office for National Statistics, the EU Commission’s statistics agency also released its figures for services exports for 2020.

Analysis of the data reveals that the United Kingdom is an essential market for EU companies selling services. The UK accounts for 20% of the EU27’s worldwide exports of services.

“Main EU trade partners for services in 2020: USA and UK.

“In 2020, the EU’s leading trade partners for services were the United States and the United Kingdom. The United States and the United Kingdom were each the destination for a fifth (20%) of the services exported from the EU Member States, ahead of Switzerland (12%).”

- EU Commission (Eurostat) report, 31 Jan 2022

The very substantial growth in Brexit Britain’s export of services — the major part of the UK economy — is so large it cannot be explained away by Rejoiners. These are real, official facts, released quietly by the Office for National Statistics at the end of January. Naturally, these went unreported on BBC TV and Sky News.

What we are seeing is a large vote of confidence in the UK from countries around the world — and even from the EU27 countries — in the UK’s largest sector of its economy, which is generally estimated to be around 80% of the total.

It backs up all the rankings that we have been publishing in the last month that cover 2021 and expectations for 2022 — so we should be confident that the trend identified here, up to 2020, is continuing now and going forward.

This was NOT meant to happen. We were told by George Osborne there would be 500,000 jobs lost just for voting to leave, never mind what would come later. Well, we know that didn’t happen and we can now see our dynamic services-led economy actually prospered.

We can build on this. There is more to be done — and yet more to be achieved. We need to hold our politicians to account in meeting the promises to take back control and use the opportunities to create prosperity. Anything else is sub-optimal.

Sources: Office for National Statistics | Eurostat (EU Commission)

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.