Brexit’s reasons

Thierry Warin (HEC Montréal & Cirano (Montréal))

Table of Contents

Is the United Kingdom not a European economy?

The British market is very important for some (usually small) countries, but much less so for the others. The stakes, therefore, are not the same. British exports to many countries are negligible or small for the UK. This would seem to suggest that the UK will not be very concerned by a trade agreement. In fact, as a whole, the EU27 absorb about half of British exports, while the UK is a relatively small market for the EU27. Another consideration is that Britain tends to import industrial goods and to export services. Should the final agreement treat the UK as just another country, WTO rules would apply by default. These rules imply heavy tariffs for traditional industries, including agro-industrial products, which could hit some countries hard. Since the Ricardian model of trade is relevant in many instances, income redistribution is an important factor.(Wyplosz 2016)

Exports of Goods

In 2019, the exports of the United Kingdom to each destination reached:

Imports of Goods

In 2019, the exports of the United Kingdom to each destination reached:

Inward FDI flows
Outward FDI flows


UK’s contribution to Europe is unfair

EU Expenditures

National Contribution

Operating Budgetary Balance

UK correction


This section provides access to the resources that were used to create this article.

Wyplosz, Charles. 2016. “New eBook: What to Do with the UK? EU Perspectives on Brexit.”



Text and figures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0. The figures that have been reused from other sources don't fall under this license and can be recognized by a note in their caption: "Figure from ...".


For attribution, please cite this work as

Warin, "Mondo blog: Brexit's reasons",, 2020

BibTeX citation

  author = {Warin, Thierry},
  title = {Mondo blog: Brexit's reasons},
  journal = {},
  year = {2020},
  note = {},
  doi = {10.6084/m9.figshare.12485789.v1}