What do you do if your 2nd largest customer walks? If you’re the EU… nothing

Graham Charles Lear
2 min readNov 6, 2019


Yesterday the EU Parliament published one of its occasional reports on international trade deals. There was not one word on a trade deal with the UK or the impact of the UK leaving.

Instead, they say “The EU currently has about 100 trade agreements in place or in the process of being updated or negotiated.” The reality is that there are only 38 trade deals in place, and many of these are not even free trade deals in the normally-accepted sense. (I have published a detailed report on this subject.) https://medium.com/@graham100200/40-eu-trade-deals-with-70-countries-a171dfb9c3a6

The EU Parliament was also keen to stress in the opening paragraphs that the EU is focused on getting“our partners to recognise EU quality and safety standards, and to respect products with a protected designation of origin, such as champagne or Roquefort cheese.”

Wakey, wakey, time to smell das Kaffee?

The EU27’s exports to none-EU27 countries

1. The UK is the second-biggest market for goods for the EU27

2. EU27 exports to the UK account for 15.5% of the EU27’s total goods sales outside the EU

3. The UK is only just behind the USA which represents 17.1% of the EU27’s exports

4. As a customer, the UK is 9 times bigger than Canada, 5 times bigger than Japan (recent trade agreements, still not ratified)

5. The EU27 sold €319 BILLION worth of goods to the UK last year alone

There has been much talk in the media recently regarding the likelihood of the EU agreeing on a trade deal with the UK by July next year. This would avoid the need for an extension of the Transition Period to 01 Jan 2023 — which would keep us effectively in the EU if that happened.

For four years I have studied the EU’s lamentable record at doing free trade deals. Here is on more they did in December last year https://medium.com/@graham100200/mongolia-one-of-eus-36-trade-deals-c9580e5af449

I wish to be very clear

The chances of the EU agreeing on a new free trade deal with the UK by July 2020 are:


The best that might be hoped for is a fudged agreement to make an agreement — enough to be able to maintain the status quo under the GATT XXIV provisions.

The EU27 would rather sacrifice jobs and prosperity than make a sensible free trade agreement with the UK. For the EU true believers, this has always been about ‘Das Projekt’ and their ideology, not about common sense and the interests of ordinary people.

[ Sources: EU Parliament | Eurostat official EU statistics ]



Graham Charles Lear

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