In this second part of my series explaining why I think we’re Better Off Out I want to discuss Trade.
This is closely linked to my previous post on Money and a key area to be clear on as it has the potential to provide a massive boost to our economy.
First and foremost let me squash an oft-quoted statement about the EU and jobs – we will NOT lose 3 million jobs if we leave the EU.
It is true that there are 3 million (or more) British jobs that are associated with trade between the UK and EU but trade is not the same as membership.
Once we leave the EU we will instantly become the EU’s biggest trading partner, accounting for £226bn of revenue for EU countries. There is absolutely no way that the EU will withdraw trade arrangements with us – can you imagine BMW and Mercedes refusing to sell us cars?
It is estimated that 7 million jobs in the EU are reliant on trade with the UK. To impede trade with the UK would be catastrophic for an EU that is still struggling to come out of recession – and almost certainly against WTO laws.
So we can all rest easy that the trade relationship we enjoy with the EU (and associated jobs) will continue.
But in addition, we would be free to set up trade agreements with countries like China and India (which the EU has failed or refused to do) – this will be a massive boost to our economy as we accelerate dealings with two of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies.
And there’s more – people rightly have serious misgivings about the EU/ US trade deal (TTIP) currently being negotiated (in secret) on our behalf, by the EU.
Concerns over the ability of companies to sue governments and the potential for our NHS to be negatively impacted are a worry. Outside the EU we would be free to arrange our own deal directly with the US on terms that are better suited to the UK.
Note that some people say we couldn’t do this as we’re “too small” and yet;
- Australia, Bahrain, Colombia, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Singapore, South Korea have bilateral free trade agreements with the US – so could we, outside the EU.
- Japan, Singapore and Chile have bilateral free trade agreements with India – so could we, outside the EU.
- Switzerland, India, Australia, Philippines, Mexico have bilateral free trade agreements with Japan – so could we, outside the EU.
- Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, New Zealand have bilateral free trade agreements with China – so could we, outside the EU.
The benefits of being outside the EU go further still;
We can retake our seat on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and use our influence as the 5th largest global economy.
The government would be able to step in to protect jobs and families by helping companies if they get into trouble, as has been seen in the steel industry recently. They are currently barred from doing this by EU “state aid” regulations.
We can set our own laws on Financial Services rather have 8% of our GVA put at risk by EU lawmakers imposing regulations that could be very harmful to one of our biggest exports.
And, of course, we can re-engage with The Commonwealth – countries with whom we share a long-established bond. In most cases, a common language, common legal system, common political system, common accounting system.
So the facts are pretty clear – leaving the EU has no downside to our current ability to trade with the EU, but there is a massive potential UPSIDE in our ability to set up trade with other growing nations.
Just one more reason why we’ll be #BetterOffOut.