Fact-Check: James Dyson’s Claims About Brexit
Hugh Hancock

Thanks, interesting point and would agree it largely. One thing though that I’ve never seen addressed is the composition of those exports, and how price sensitive they are, how elastic their demand is, and how substitutable they are.

E.g. I’d guess a good proportion of German exports are luxury cars, which almost by definition are not too price sensitive. If price goes up, some will trade down ( but possibly to a smaller BMW, more likely that than buying a domestically produced Nissan etc), there’s no domestic alternatives (jaguar are much more expensive even with tariffs), but largely people will just pay more. Conversely if Nissan are exporting Micras, tariffs will drive more demand relatively to Renault or Volkswagen, reasonably comparable alternatives which are tariff free. A simplification of course, but even if the value of cars going in both directions between the UK and Germany were the same, is far from the case that tariffs have equal impact.

Also, I’ve no idea, but I’d guess given the strength of the German mittelstand (sp?) and history (still the same domestic players in German cars for decades, as opposed to UK where they’re foreign), a much higher proportion of German cars component chain is domestic or at least within the EU. Tariffs might be slightly detrimental to German cars, but much more so to UK ones.

This also applies to Dyson, which are a premium brand anyway, and probably explains why he has less to worry about. Purple who are paying significantly more than they need to to get a vacuum cleaner will probably just buy it anyway even if 10% more expensive, few will be priced out and buy a tariff free EU vacuum cleaner. Additionally, clearly he exports globally anyway, tariffs are not a barrier to his trade. More commoditised and competitive, substitutable goods are the ones that have to worry more.

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