World mapTrade is one of the core issues of the EU referendum.

The Treasures from the Sicilian Seas exhibition (previous post) was a timely reminder that there is nothing new about the movement of goods, people and ideas within Europe and beyond it – between Europe, Africa and the Arab world across the Mediterranean and with China and Central Asia along the Silk Road.

Against this background, the EU, with its container lorries, cross-Channel freight trains and internal market can appear curiously anomalous and inward looking. Are we right to continue putting so many of our trading eggs in the European basket or should we be thinking more globally and focusing our attention across the Atlantic and to the increasingly important trading nations of  Asia and the Pacific?