Liverpool city region firms are heavily dependent on exports to the EU, figures reveal

Leading think tank Centre for Cities says 47% of exports out of the city region go to the EU compared to just 15% to the US and 11% to China. Tony McDonough reports.

Many Liverpool city region firms depend on exports to the EU
Many Liverpool city region firms depend on exports to the EU

Liverpool city region firms are “critically” dependent on the EU for trade with 47% of exports going to the single market.

This is slightly lower than the UK national average of 48% but far exceeds the city region’s exports to the US (15%) and China (11%).

The figures are today revealed by leading Think Tank Centre for Cities which says they underline the importance of the UK securing the best possible trade deal with the EU ahead of Brexit.

Market access

Its research shows that 61 out of 62 British cities sell more exports to the EU than anywhere else in the world.

When the importance of the EU to Merseyside is discussed it is usually in the context of economic assistance.

However, this research show that access to the single market is also hugely important to Merseyside companies.

Liverpool produces £12,920 worth of exports per worker each year compared to the national average of £15,690 per worker.

Clarity needed

Andy Snell, director of international trade at Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce, agreed that is was crucial that Merseyside firms knew where they stood in terms of the single market at the earliest opportunity.

He said: “While we consistently encourage our exporters to look globally to access opportunities in emerging and growth economies, they do remain dependent on EU markets.

“Some have benefited with the currency fluctuation since Brexit, others dependent on importing raw materials less so.

“Liverpool city region businesses could be disproportionately affected if we end up leaving the single market, and would welcome clarity on the basis of a future trade deal as soon as possible.”

Best deal possible

In total, nearly half of all exports from British cities (46%) go to EU markets – three times more than the US the second biggest market for UK urban exports, and five times more than exports to India, Japan, Russia, South America and South Korea combined.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities, added: “Securing the best possible EU trade deal will be critical for the prosperity of Liverpool and other British cities, and should be the Government’s top priority.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities
Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities

“While it’s right to be ambitious about increasing exports to countries such as the US and China, the outcome of EU trade negotiations will have a much bigger impact on places and people up and down the country.

“It’s also important that the Government aims to reach trade agreements covering as many sectors as possible, rather than prioritising deals for high-profile industries based in a small number of places.

“Broad trade agreements for all goods and services will help every city to build on its exporting strengths.”

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