Anorak | Why Britain’s The Winner In This Online International Trade Stuff

Why Britain’s The Winner In This Online International Trade Stuff

by | 27th, January 2014

A special constable stands guard at a rubber factory which exports rubber in latex from, in British Malay, Nov. 15, 1948. (AP Photo)


SO we’re told by a report about international online trade: the UK has the world’s largest trade surplus in it. Woo Hoo!

Makes up for the fact, well, just a little bit, that we’ve been running trade deficits for as long as most of us have been alive. Here’s the good news :

The value of online exports in six of the top e-commerce markets will grow fivefold to $130 billion by 2020, with Britain currently generating the biggest online trade surplus by selling more goods abroad, research showed on Monday.

It’s just that, well, I didn’t believe this. So I went off and got a copy of the report and asked the people who had written it quite how they had come to this conclusion.

The basic answer, after we’d clarified the terms they were using, is that they counted the value of packages flowing in and out of the UK. More value was flowing out from us to foreigners and that’s what the trade surplus was.

Hmm. OK, maybe, possibly, that works. But it doesn’t really, not in the way that an economist looks at things. To an economist money flowing out of the country for something means that that something is an import.


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Posted: 27th, January 2014 | In: Money, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink