UK regions, the European Union and manufacturing exports

25 May 2016

In advance of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU), this Brief considers the differences in how the UK’s constituent regions and nations interact with other EU countries, focusing upon trade in goods. The regional dimension of the UK/EU relationship has received relatively little attention in the public debate around the implications of ‘Brexit’, yet the evidence examined here suggests that the notion of whether the UK will be ‘better off’ or ‘worse off’ as a result of voting to exit or remain within the EU is too simplistic. An examination of the different trade relationships that different UK regions and nations have with the EU helps us to consider both how the UK will be affected by Brexit, and who will be most affected. In particular, the Brief reflects upon the possible implications of Brexit for the policy agendas around ‘rebalancing’ and ‘the Northern Powerhouse’,which are predicated upon a resurgence of manufacturing industries in the North of England.

Written by by Dr Craig Berry, Chris Kirkland, Scott Lavery and Tom Hunt

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The views expressed in this research paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative.

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