Press release

European Commission trade strategy: Prime Minister's statement

David Cameron made a statement welcoming the European Commission’s trade strategy published today.

Welcoming the European Commission’s trade strategy published today, the Prime Minister said:

One of the biggest benefits of our EU membership is the free trade deals between the EU and the rest of the world, which tear down barriers to business and open up markets. That’s why 60% of the UK’s exports go to the single market and the countries with which the EU has trade deals.

These agreements open up huge opportunities for British businesses: for example, our exports to South Korea have doubled since that trade deal was done. And we achieve much more in these trade agreements with third countries by negotiating as part of a market of 500 million consumers than we would if the UK went it alone.

We already benefit from more than 50 trade agreements between the EU and third countries and today’s strategy from the European Commission shows the huge prize still on offer – if the EU completed all the agreements on the table, it could add £20 billion each year to the UK economy.

That’s one of the benefits I’ve been pushing for as part of the UK renegotiation and so I’m delighted that the European Commission has committed today to push ahead with ambitious agreements with China, Australia, New Zealand and countries in south-east Asia and to do more to ensure that SMEs and consumers across Europe can benefit from these trade agreements.

This is firmly in Britain’s interests and it’s proof of how we can persuade the European Commission to focus on actions that will create growth and jobs here at home.