Yesterday in the Commons I spoke of the need to reduce the uncertainties and disagreements following the vote to leave the EU.
Business is right to chide politicians to be more precise and to reduce the worries they have There are three main ways to do this.
The first is to rule out the need to negotiate over large areas where we need to take back control. You cannot negotiate taking back control. We need to resume decision making over our laws, our money and our borders. Saying these are not up for negotiations greatly simplifies the task.
The second is to make a generous offer on trade, where we do need to reach an agreement over how we trade with the rest of the EU in future. We should offer trade tariff free with no new service trade barriers. it’s a generous offer, and would make sense for the continent to welcome it. I have still not heard any continental government Ministers demanding that tariffs be placed in the way of their exports to the UK, so it should be pleasing to them. Nor would they wish to lose their financial passports to London.
The third is to have a rock solid fall back position which does not require any positive decision by the rest of the EU, just in case Remain are right and the Commission does make the member states damage their own trade with us. We are founder members of the World Trade Organisation and can therefore file a schedule of tariffs with them under the MFN procedure, using the current EU schedules. We could trade reasonably well using this, just as the USA, China and others do into the EU at the moment without special trade deals. It would also mean the Uk government had a substantial revenue from the tariffs on rest of the EU exports to us, which could be given back to UK consumers in various ways.
There is absolutely no need to pay money into the EU budget in order to import products from the EU. There is no need to trade freedom of movement for the exchange of goods.
There is no need to spend two years sorting this out. If we rely on existing trade terms it could be much quicker.