Calls for a Brexit trade plan to address over-reliance on EU exports

Welsh Conservatives have called on the Welsh Labour Government to develop a new economic strategy to boost exports to non-EU countries.

The calls come after new stats revealed that Welsh exports to the EU now account for 67.7% of all Welsh exports, up from just 44.6% in 2012.

Shadow Economy Secretary, Russell George, is warning of the dangers of an ‘over-reliance’ on EU trade, and calling on the Welsh Government to embrace the coming era of free trade with a new strategy focused on making the Welsh economy more “robust and outward looking”.

According to Welsh Government figures, for the United Kingdom as a whole just under a half of all exports go to EU nations (49.4%), but that figure is significantly higher in Wales.

In the 12 months up to and including September 2016, exports to the EU accounted for 67.7% of the all exports; compared to just 44.6% during 2012.

Over the same period, exports to North America declined starkly – from 26.8% of all Welsh exports in 2012, to just 15.4% during the year to date.

Mr George said:

“This isn’t about cutting the volume of trade with Europe. We simply need to ensure that the Welsh economy is as robust and outward-looking as possible as we enter a new era of free trade.

“It’s clear that the Labour Government’s approach is failing, and the over-reliance of the Welsh economy on exports to the EU is becoming a significant problem at just the time that we have an opportunity to broaden the markets to whom we export.

“Whilst the EU accounts for less than 50% of all UK exports, more than two-thirds of all Welsh exports are to Europe which suggests a wider issue with the Welsh Government’s economic approach.

“We have an historic opportunity to get to the front of the queue for a trade deal with a new President who has indicated a willingness to do business with the UK.

“In recent years the First Minister has made a number of high profile trade missions to North America, and yet trade with the region has fallen dramatically since 2012.

“2017 is an opportunity to develop a new economic strategy, and that must include a plan to capitalise on the opportunities of Brexit by boosting trade with the rest of the world.”


Can YOU Help?

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the West Wales Chronicle than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The West Wales Chronicle’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support the Chronicle – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.