Personal Finance

Which EU Citizens Benefit the Most from a Free Trade Brexit?

We analysed the most recently-available international trade data from Eurostat to determine which EU residents will benefit the most from a free trade deal Brexit. To figure this out, we calculated what an average resident in each country would pay in tariffs on imports from the UK in event of a no-deal Brexit. Residents who would pay the most in no-deal tariffs have the most to gain by a free trade Brexit. Below we explain our findings and our methodology.

Residents of These EU Countries Have the Most to Gain by a Free Trade Brexit

If there's no deal, residents of EU countries would end up paying a tariff on products they buy which were imported from the UK. As a result, the EU residents benefiting the most from the UK leaving with a trade deal are those who would pay the most in tariffs on imports from the UK—if there was no deal. For our evaluation we calculated the estimated no-deal trade tariffs for each EU country on imports from the UK per capita, to find out the value of tariffs avoided by a deal for an average resident in each EU country.

1. Ireland

Of all EU 27 member state residents, the Irish have the most to gain by the UK avoiding a no-deal Brexit. Irish residents would pay around €289 in tariffs per year if the UK leaves the EU with no trade deal—that's essentially €289 saved per person if Brexit is accomplished with a free trade deal in place. More than €22 billion worth of goods are imported into Ireland every year from the UK, to which tariffs averaging 6.5% would be applied if there was no deal.

Calculating the Benefit of a Free Trade Brexit
Imports to Ireland from UK€22,457,551,073
Population4,813,610
Imports per Capita€4,665
Tariff Estimate (%)6.2%
Annual Tariff Estimate per Capita (EUR)€289

2. Belgium

Belgium residents would save around €69 each year in potential tariffs if a no-deal Brexit is avoided. If the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal in place, tariffs of around 4.5% would be applied to the €17 billion in annual imports from the UK, which translate into a potential savings of around €69 for each of the 11 million Belgium residents.

Calculating the Benefit of a Free Trade Brexit
Imports to Belgium from UK€17,435,580,816
Population11,372,070
Imports per Capita€1,533
Tariff Estimate (%)4.5%
Annual Tariff Estimate per Capita (EUR)€69

3. Netherlands

The average Dutch resident would pay around €65 in tariffs each year in the event of a no-deal Brexit—or would essentially save €65 per year if there is a free trade deal instead. The Dutch import more from the UK than the Irish (€26,004,535,585 vs. €22,457,551,073) but due to a different mix of imports they'd pay lower estimated tariff rates and less in absolute tariff costs per year.

Calculating the Benefit of a Free Trade Brexit
Imports to Netherlands from UK€26,004,535,585
Population17,132,850
Imports per Capita€1,518
Tariff Estimate (%)4.3%
Annual Tariff Estimate per Capita (EUR)€65

No-Deal Tariffs on Imports from the UK, per EU Country

Below are the countries in the European Union ranked according to whose residents would benefit the most from a Brexit free trade deal. The more a country's average resident would pay in no-deal tariffs on imports from the UK, the more they have to gain from a free trade Brexit. Countries are ranked according to the estimated tariffs avoided by a free trade deal, from most to least.

RankCountryImports to EU from UK (EUR)PopulationImports per Capita (EUR)Tariff EstimateAnnual Tariff Estimate per Capita (EUR)
1Ireland€ 22,457,551,0734,813,610€ 4,665.46.2%€ 289.3
2Belgium€ 17,435,580,81611,372,070€ 1,533.24.5%€ 69.0
3Netherlands€ 26,004,535,58517,132,850€ 1,517.84.3%€ 65.3
4Malta€ 400,108,624465,290€ 859.95.2%€ 44.7
5Cyprus€ 503,089,7151,179,550€ 426.56.7%€ 28.6
6Sweden€ 6,971,316,09110,067,740€ 692.43.8%€ 26.3
7Denmark€ 3,237,580,3845,769,600€ 561.14.5%€ 25.3
8France€ 30,001,101,71267,118,650€ 447.04.9%€ 21.9
9Luxembourg€ 282,746,549599,450€ 471.74.4%€ 20.8
10Germany€ 41,535,586,71282,695,000€ 502.33.6%€ 18.1
11Finland€ 1,772,871,0135,511,300€ 321.74.6%€ 14.8
12Austria€ 2,508,624,9508,809,210€ 284.84.6%€ 13.1
13Czech Republic€ 4,047,991,69210,591,320€ 382.23.4%€ 13.0
14Estonia€ 375,239,3241,315,480€ 285.24.4%€ 12.6
15Lithuania€ 937,355,1962,827,720€ 331.53.4%€ 11.3
16Spain€ 12,536,247,35746,572,030€ 269.24.1%€ 11.0
17Portugal€ 1,863,425,68110,293,720€ 181.05.2%€ 9.4
18Italy€ 11,549,964,84960,551,420€ 190.74.6%€ 8.8
19Slovenia€ 382,679,4872,066,750€ 185.24.7%€ 8.7
20Slovakia€ 1,919,192,8115,439,890€ 352.82.4%€ 8.5
21Hungary€ 1,863,543,6809,781,130€ 190.53.8%€ 7.2
22Latvia€ 411,528,1881,940,740€ 212.03.4%€ 7.2
23Poland€ 5,686,293,18037,975,840€ 149.74.8%€ 7.2
24Greece€ 1,181,808,06810,760,420€ 109.85.3%€ 5.8
25Romania€ 1,690,601,94019,586,540€ 86.34.4%€ 3.8
26Croatia€ 265,090,3494,125,700€ 64.34.5%€ 2.9
27Bulgaria€ 475,587,7007,075,990€ 67.23.5%€ 2.4
chart showing the tariff savings per capita in each EU country of a free trade deal Brexit
Irish residents benefit the most from a Free Trade Brexit


Methodology

In order to understand which EU residents will benefit the most from a free trade deal Brexit, we calculated the potential tariffs per capita in each EU country on imports from the UK. We gathered trade data from Eurostat, estimated tariff rates per country from Civitas and population data from the World Bank.

Using these data sets, we first found the imports from the UK into each EU country per capita, then multiplied these numbers by the estimated tariff rates in each country. The result was the estimated absolute cost of tariffs to the average resident in each EU country on goods from the UK. The higher the potential tariffs, the more a country's population can benefit from a free trade deal Brexit.

Sources

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