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Between 2005 and 2009 UK exports of goods and services to new EU member states increased from £7.5 billion to £10 billion, an increase of 37%. Over the same period, exports of goods and services to the EU-15 increased 9%.
It would be extremely difficult to distinguish with any certainty the effect on exports of EU structural and cohesion funding expenditure from the effect of joining a free-trade area. This is because the full effect of market opening when these member states acceded to the EU would not be expected to take place immediately: when firms start to trade with a new business partner in overseas markets they tend to do so in small amounts at first, and gradually export more. Consequently there is no clear benchmark level of exports with which to estimate the effect of expenditure of structural and cohesion funding in 2005.