Portsmouth businesses export more than half a billion pounds worth of goods to the EU yearly
BUSINESSES in Portsmouth exported more than half a billion pounds worth of goods to the EU last year, figures reveal.
The latest trade figures from HM Revenue and Customs show that 513 businesses registered in the Portsmouth area exported goods to countries in the European Union during 2018.
Their combined sales came to £520m – 45 per cent of the total value of exports from the area, with sales to non-EU countries bringing in £641m over the year.
More businesses in Portsmouth export to EU countries than to the rest of the world – 513 compared to 486.
Across the UK, more than 120,000 companies exported £170bn worth of goods to the EU in 2018, with more businesses exporting within the bloc than outside of it in every region of the country.
Brexit has continued to dominate the general election campaign, with the main parties clashing over the UK's future relationship with the EU.
While the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed a withdrawal agreement with the EU – yet to be approved by Parliament – a no-deal Brexit still remains the default option if a trade deal is not agreed in the ensuing transition period, currently set to end on December 31 2020.
Business bodies including the British Chambers of Commerce and the Confederation of British Industry have warned about the threat a disorderly exit would pose, as well as the introduction of tariffs if the UK leaves the customs union.
The CBI says a no-deal Brexit could result in a 7.8 per cent drop in the value of goods and services produced in the south-east by 2034.
This would be an annual loss of more than £28bn in today’s prices.
A Conservative Party spokeswoman said the withdrawal agreement made clear a future relationship would be based on a free trade agreement, ensuring goods can continue to travel tariff free.
Portsmouth businesses also imported £285m worth of goods from the EU bloc in 2018 – 34 per cent of total imports.
Overall, 721 companies imported products from the EU, compared to 619 that traded with the rest of the world.
The figures only include trade in goods, not in services.