Letter to the FT Editor: UK exports to the EU do not exceed global trades

“Most exporter industries are reliant on the EU” is the claim on a chart attached to your article “New ONS data tools highlight value of trade with Europe” (April 18).

The chart uses data for 2016 from the Office for National Statistics. It shows that there were nearly twice as many ONS categories of goods for which exports to the EU exceeded exports to the rest of the world, which superficially seems to support your claim.

The chart did not take into account the size of each industry. For instance, it gives the same weight to the £0.16bn exports of footwear (which mostly went to the EU) as to the £31bn exports of cars (mostly to outside the EU).

Properly weighted, of £300bn total UK exports of goods in 2016, the proportion going to the EU was 48 per cent.

John Whittaker, Lancaster University

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