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EU Structural and Cohesion funding

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Tessa Munt Tessa Munt Liberal Democrat, Wells

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the effect on UK exports of EU structural and cohesion funding expenditure in new member states since 2005; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

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.

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