EU membership offers no trade benefit to UK: Civitas

The UK has not gained any "insider advantages" in trade with other European countries from its European Union (EU) membership, social policy think tank Civitas said in its latest report.

The Civitas report titled "Where's the Insider Advantage?" says that trade with other EU countries makes up no more of the UK's trade with all leading economies now than it did when the UK first joined the EEC in 1973. It also says that EU membership didn't benefit the UK's service sector either.

Corporate market researcher Michael Burrage said the EU membership could not help the UK in securing more Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) than those that the country might have secured by independent talks.

In the report, Burrage said, "There is no evidence to suggest that the 'heft' or 'clout' of the EU has helped secure more FTAs than those that might have been secured by independent negotiations."

Burrage explained that there were 25 EU FTAs in force in the year of 2012, while the Swiss government had successfully independently negotiated 26 FTAs. He also questioned the benefit of collectively negotiated EU FTSa.

The report contradicts analysis by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which said in its "Our Global Future" report that full membership of the EU was a better medium for harnessing the global trends and reshaping the world economy than all the alternatives.