The UK keeps paying its subscription to the WTO

Before and after the referendum I have heard Remain people say we would have to apply to rejoin the WTO, as it is the EU that is currently the member. I always said this was untrue. The UK is a founder member of the organisation. We are still members, but whilst also being members of the EU we have to allow the EU to have our voice and our vote. We suspend our own.

Last week there was a welcome confirmation from the Head of the WTO that Leave were correct. He said “The UK is a member of the WTO today, it will be a member tomorrow. There will be no discontinuity in its membership…” (when we leave the EU). “Trade will not stop. It will continue and members negotiate the legal basis under which that trade is going to happen”.

I also consulted a WTO legal expert. He confirmed that whilst the EU exercises the votes and voice for all EU states, the individual member states are not just members in their own right as well, but each member state pays its own membership subscription. This shows just how wrong it was to say we would have a long process to rejoin. We are full paying club members who will get our vote and voice back when we leave the EU.

As the WTO is an international organisation set up with the express purposes of facilitating trade and pulling down barriers to trade, they will of course welcome the UK as a leading exponent of freer trade worldwide. They will also want to help ensure a smooth transition for EU/UK trade, and will recognise it is the member states, not the EU, that pays the subscriptions.

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101 Comments

  1. Richard1
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    What is your view on the legality of the UK and non-EU countries negotiating and agreeing trade deals to come into force as soon as the UK leaves the EU? There seems to be some dispute as to whether or not this is possible.

    Reply Its fine

    • Brexit Facts4EU.org
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Richard1, for extra some details on this you might want to read a couple of articles we published, based on legal research and opinion:
      http://facts4eu.org/news_oct_1-31_2016.shtml#pre-Brexit-trade-deals

      • Richard1
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. There seem to be conflicting opinions. It is only fine as JR says above if 3rd party countries agree and will negotiate with the UK. Australia apparently says no until the EU-UK deal is clear, which seems odd if really true.

    • Hope
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Well done JR for dismissing another false narrative. The TV journalism is so bad it allows all sorts of claims without challenge even though it causes public concern. Again, the leader being the BBC. The BBC coverage on the president campaign is bias against Trump. Irrespective of the candidates we should expect balanced fair reporting. No challenges to false or misleading claims. When is the BBC going to investigate why emails were destroyed after being asked by the FBI to produce them? etc ed

      • rose
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        It has been the same with Orgreave today. No-one invited on to put the case for the HO decision – which thank goodness was the right one for a change. How long before they cave in though? – as they did over Calais.

        • Hope
          Posted November 2, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          I would still like a judicial inquiry over the Staffordshire health care scanadal where people died. Burhnam was the Health Sectetary at the time. If this was a private organisation he would be investigated for corporate manslaughter. No shield of ministerial office. When we saw him shout nasty things the other day it makes you wonder why he was not so vigorous for a public inquiry over his own failing in public office where people died?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Without careful examination of the EU treaties and laws and perhaps also ECJ judgments it is impossible to be 100% sure that there is no legal bar, but even if there was it would make sense for the EU and other member state governments to turn a blind eye to a temporary technical infringement. So far it seems that for misguided geopolitical reasons they do not intend to be sensible in their approach to Brexit, but that could change … I think the bigger problem may be that non-EU countries would prefer to have some details of the new EU-UK relationship before committing to new trade deals with the UK.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Yes we should just get in with it, what are the EU going to do,fine us?

    • Chris S
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Clearly we cannot sign a trade deal before leaving but how can Brussels stop us talking to friendly countries ? We can go ahead and agree all the terms of multiple trade deals and hold a big signing ceremony on the second anniversary of the Article 50 declaration.

  2. Jerry
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Thank you, although it does need for the clarification on one point, you say [my emphasis] “We are still members, but whilst also being members of the EU we have to allow the EU to have our voice and our vote. We suspend our own“, are you saying that the UK has the right and could actually choose to use its WTO vote today, this year, before actual Brexit (even if it goes against EU rules) and that vote would count?

    Reply That would not be legal under our membership of the EU

    • Jerry
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      JR reply; That did not tell us much, it might well be illegal under EU law but would the WTO accept our vote, I assume not. So until someone formally tells the WTO that the UK is no longer a member of the EU we can not act as a full member (and what evidence will the WTO accept, a letter from the UK government or will we have to wait until some eurocrat get around to doing so?), currently along with all other EU28 countries the UK is in effect an observer nation should it try and step outside of the formal EU presence, that sounds very much like having to re-activate our membership to all intent – although some europhiles might well be harvesters of doom and gloom on how long the process might take.

      I think both side of this argument are dancing on political pinheads, much seems to come down to the choice of words used.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    The more you hear the worse it gets.

    We pay to be a member of the WTO via the EU but give our vote to the EU (to do with it as they wish) whilst we are still members of that Organisation.

    Yet another reason (if any more were needed) to leave the EU.

    • Hope
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Off topic, 150 Tory MPs vote for Vaz to be on the Justice Select committee! Have they lost leave of their senses etc ed? I hope the public take note and not vote for those Tory MPs at the next election.

      • stred
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Did you vote for Jim John?

      • alan jutson
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Hope

        The list of Mp’s is on Guido’s website, pleased to say our host was not one of them.

        Really does make you wonder why some people want to be MP’s if they cannot make up their own mind (or even hold their constituents thoughts) about anything !

  4. Chris S
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Yet another example of the lies told by the Remain side throughout the referendum campaign. Strange, isn’t it, that the BBC and every other Remain supporting organisation repeatedly comment about all the lies told by the Leave side but ignore those told by Remain

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      It might have been considered strange not so long ago but we are in the era of post-truth politics-it’s the narrative,not the truth,that matters.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the lies were nearly all on the remain side, from Cameron, Osborne, Carney, May (We have control of our borders through Schengen drivel), Obama, the BBC endlessly, the EU, the CBI, the ECB, group in academia, most government departments and many others culprits.

      They idea that quoting the gross figure for contributions on the side of a bus was a lie is absurd. It was freely admitted that this was the gross figure and some came back usually with bonkers stings attached rendering it of far less real value.

      • Hope
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        Life logic what do you expect from Cameron and Osborn? Today we read that Will Straw at a select committee hearing did not know why Cameron put him forward for an honour. All remainers got an honour all those who campaigned to leave did not. I do not think we need a select committee using lots of time and expense to debate this. This from Cameron who promised to clean up Westminster! Perhaps it would have been better to question Cameron on his comments over the 2009 scandals his promises to clean up Westminster and his lack of standards/ integrity in failing to act.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Of course we should negotiate new trade deal to start asap, we need to grasp all the very many advantages of leaving the EU straight jacket as soon as possible.

    Freedom to do trade deals around the World, to be selective on the quality of immigration, to go for cheap reliable energy, to abolish the climate change act, to cancel HS2, lagoons, greencrap grants, cut and simplify taxes and employment laws and to have a bonfire of red tape in general are some others.

    We should also sort out the absurd, arbitrary, multilevel & hugely expensive and unclear way the legal system works. So far we have seen very little of this from the May’s administration, why is she so reluctant to go for growth and so keen to throw away all these opportunities?

    She even wants to introduce gender pay reporting and workers/customers on boards by law. Hammond says he wants better productivity yet the government and courts are very keen to keep putting spanners in the works with red tape, Uber type rulings, daft employment laws and all the rest.

    Sacking Carney and replacing him with someone who is at least had half competent judgement (and costing perhaps a third of the sum in remuneration) was a very sensible & obvious thing to do. Why was it not done?

    Alas May shows very little sign of grasping the huge opportunities that arise from leaving. She seem to be following the line given to her by her officials & essentially another lefty, remainer in the Cameron mode.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Signaling a change of direction, by sacking Carney, would have helped confidence in the UK hugely. If Theresa May started to morph into a real Conservative that would too. One who moved towards smaller but far more competent government, cheap energy, freedom and jobs. One who cancelled white elephant vanity projects instead of wasting money on them.

      It is about time she made some sensible decisions for a change. Her record so far is dire.

  6. Sam Stoner
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Well, sure, but you miss the point. The UK has to set tariffs (or decide not to) in areas previously dealt with through the EU. That cannot be done unilaterally. The UK will need the agreement of the other members of the WTO. Plenty have no incentive to help the Uk at all

    • Mark Watson
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I don’t think that the WTO is like the EU where one country can make the whole thing grind to a halt, the WTO lives to promote trade unlike the EU.

    • Mark
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I think you miss the point. Trade goes on even while formal recognition of tariff schedules is not registered at the WTO. The EU should know: their schedules haven’t been completely formally approved by WTO members since enlargement.

    • Augustyn
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s correct that the UK would have to agree tariff rates with other members of the WTO. I think the UK can unilaterally set tariff’s at any rate it choses at or below the WTO rates and no discussion is necessary.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Providing it is within the agreed WTO rule it can be done unilaterally.

  7. formula57
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Once the UK speaks for itself again at the WTO, it ought to propose that the EU is expelled given the ridiculous fiasco the EU orchestrated with regard to CETA. Perhaps at the same time, Wallonia could be admitted.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    “As the WTO is an international organisation set up with the express purposes of facilitating trade and pulling down barriers to trade … ”

    Well, the other day I quoted passages from the EU treaties about promoting free trade and the progressive removal of barriers to trade, but nonetheless they seem intent on erecting new barriers to trade with the UK where none exist at present.

  9. Newmania
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    John Redwoods pre referendum position was that trade would continue much as before. His post-referendum position “Hey guys we are in the WTO, next to Malawi!!” is some territory away .The insouciance with which he pronounces this disaster to be a win for leave is mildly breath-taking, but he was far from alone in misrepresenting the Leave case .
    “Trade will “continue … similar to current circumstances” (David Davis).
    “We can maintain free trade, stop sending money and also have control of our borders” (Michael Gove).
    In fact it was consistently claimed we would be better off
    “ Abolishing prescription charges”. Gisela Stuart
    “abolish VAT on fuel and tampons”. Chris Grayling
    “a 60% cut in council tax”, Daniel Hannan
    “wages will be higher and fuel bills lower” (Boris Johnson, Gove and Stuart).
    Studies show that most of the Leave Vote actually believed they would be as well off if not better off post Brexit .Furthermore (U Gov) that their agreement to the Brexit high stakes gamble was not unconditional .If a mere 2% of income was to be lost in return for an end to Freedom of movement the Leave vote disappears.

    Reply It is still my view that the rest of the EU is likely to opt to carry on as before when they explore the options for them

    • Mark Watson
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I voted Leave because, along with the majority of the voters,I could see that the EU had become an exercise in political and economic control,rather than the political and economic cooperation we thought we were getting.

    • DaveK
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      John, I can understand that you publish Newremainiac’s posts for comedic value, but I must admit to being a little surprised for allowing insults.

      • Jerry
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        @DaveK; What insults (in @Newmania comment above), talk about crocodile tears… As if europhobes do not use their own insults, deeply cutting ones at that, such as calling those who would have preferred to stay in the EU “Remainiacs” (with its obvious link to mental health issues) as indeed you used yourself, thus you are complaining to our host about allowing your own comment too!

        One of the advantages of our hosts personal moderation method is that robust but fair debate is had without having to skirt around the usual political correctness – so take as well as just give, when it comes to ‘insults’.

    • stred
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Newmaniac. Your lies about lies campaign, followed by other net receivers of EU benefits, needs to be exposed point by point.

      Trade will continue.. SIMILAR, to present..-It will. They will still want to sell us the same products, whether with agreement to continue zero tariffs of pay and compensate WTO tariffs. They will not wish to inspect every container of car parts going between the EU and outside, as at present. Ditto Michael Gove’s comment.

      Abolish prescription charges, VAT on fuel and tampons, cut in council tax. – all POSSIBLE but a choice which we cannot make now. To be paid from the NET figure of contributions now confirmed by OBR and Stats Office. Lies from BBC still on internet and quoted.

      Wages higher and fuel bills lower..- All possible if lower cheap labour available after controls not allowed at present and EU energy directives stop subsidy mining by mostly foreign corporations aided by our civil service, which may be purged after their chief get used to it.

      The 2% argument is based on polling- the same ones that got the results of the referendum and GE wrong.

      By the way, the best lie about lies is that we were told that Turkey was about to join and they would all want to come to the UK.- There are very many Turks and Kurds already in the UK and we like their retail skills. At the time of the referendum, the EU was arranging for Turks to have visa-free access. The possibility of Turkey joining was long term. At the same time Remain was telling voters that we would have to obtain visas to enter the EU. Perhaps, except for all the Turks already here. The French and Germans may have long memories of English invasions. On the other hand they may be happy to have us pop over to use their hotels and restaurants and not see searching us for longbows as a good idea.

      As for passporting, only a few city boys may be inconvenienced and most of us would be pleased to see the Moaners clear of to Luxembourg.

      • stred
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Of, or and off typos. Can’t correct after not seeing them. Is it possible to do so?

    • Jerry
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; Only problem in that is that all EU27 member countries need to agree and there are some such members who have little or no reason to agree, either because the UK’s loss is their gain or because anything like a ‘successful’ Brexit will cause political issues in their own country or the entire EU.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      If you are dealing with country to country and business to business, then I would agree with you, but we are not. We are dealing with people who want us gone ! And not just gone, gone, but humbled as well. They are acting more like a jilted lover / bunny boiler than sane individuals who see that for both them and the UK, this is really rather a good thing and not bad.

      They will not make this easy or pleasant .

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      So…. The EU is a ‘free’ trading area but you dare object to being ruled from elsewhere by people you can only vote for under a franchise weakened by QMV and that’s it… leave and it’s End of Days.

      What kind of person thinks that’s acceptable ???

      You know what ?

      I don’t want Newmania to earn a decent wage. He doesn’t deserve it.

    • Qubus
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but we are not out of the EU yet. we shall have to wait and see.

  10. acorn
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    So which option are we going for? A UK – EU bilateral trade agreement; OR, the WTO (most favoured nation), or what? Assuming we are not going for Norway; Switzerland; Canada or Outer Mongolia bilateral version.

    Having read a lot of conflicting experts, it appears there is no default, off-the-shelf WTO tariff schedule that will come into play if the UK does nothing, according to brexitcentral. And, if the UK chooses to adopt MFN tariffs, regardless of the rates, the EU, acting as the 29th State of the EU, would have no choice but to impose its Common Customs Tariff (CCT) on UK trade; again according to brexitcentral.

    The consensus appears to be that the CETA (Canada – EU) bilateral trade agreement is a good model containing detailed labour movement controls for seasonal workers in the agriculture and horticultural sectors. It is claimed that it would be much cheaper and less disruptive than the WTO (MFN) option.

    The basic choice is preferential or non-preferential trade between the UK and the EU. UK – EU bilateral trade agreement in two years or WTO (MFN) respectively. The former with a possible interim agreement under GATT Article XXIV(5) which, apparently, wood allow longer negotiation outside of Article 50 limits.

    Should we get the Canadians to bring their paperwork over and we rent some copier machines.

    • stred
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Canada has an entry/exit checking system and enforces overstayers. We don’t. To implement one would be embarrassing for previous ministers.

    • Jumeirah
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      We dont need more copier machines -we’ve already got a Canadian over here printing money!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Contrary to the propaganda CETA is economically insignificant, even more so than TTIP. That could be one reason why it took so long to agree, because there was little incentive for either side to push for speedy agreement.

      It is certainly not what the UK should seek:

      http://capx.co/the-canada-eu-trade-deal-is-no-model-for-brexit/

      “The Canada-EU trade deal is no model for Brexit”

  11. Jumeirah
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Excellent Mr. Redwood and that answers my question with regard to the Daily Express quote yesterday which said: “The WTO said Britain could not leave the EU until it had reached an agreement with its 163 members”‘. Where does the Press in this Country get this sort of mis-information from?

  12. MickN
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    O/T
    I am pleased to see that you at least are not among those Tory MPs that ensured the ……… MP Keith Vaz was elected to the Justice Select Committee last night. When I look at some of the names on that list I could vomit. It is little wonder why a large proportion of the public hold our MPs in such utter contempt.

    • stred
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the Tories are run by ex-boarders. Day boys escaped.

  13. michael
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Where may one find the pros and cons of conducting future trade under WTO trade terms.? WTO may provide a quick fix if trade talks with the EU are not fruitful but could we be better off trading totally independently of any trade body?

    • DaveK
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink
      • Mark B
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Lucky you ! He usually deletes mine.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Dear Mark–Our John doesn’t like what he sees as extremes. Also a sense of humour is not one of his strong points. Recently I have failed Mods on drawing parallels between, First, Danegeld and our EU contributions and, Secondly, the Jungle and the invasion forces that the Armada was going to pick up from the then Spanish Netherlands not that far from Calais. The only view to take is that it is his site. Everything in life is the net of pluses and minuses.

      • Mark
        Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        That’s a very interesting analysis. If the EU 27 is only going to collect an extra £5.2bn in tariffs, then the EU itself will get 75% of that or just £3.9bn – leaving a big gap to cover in EU funding arising from the UK’s departure. Opting for WTO rules doesn’t solve the EU’s budget allocation problem in any significant way.

  14. hignorant prole
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t the Peter Sutherland person ex WTO pro NWO type things ?

    • stred
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes. He’s Ireland’s version of our top lawyer/civil servant/ international businessman/GS/ Bilderbugger/ free movement of labour-loving/EU superannuated Lord Kerr, currently on the Lords committee finding reasons for ignoring the’advisory’referendum. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18519395

  15. Bert Young
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    The world is a bigger place than the EU and our contribution to it has a recommendation few can equal .

  16. Richard Butler
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Good stuff John, once again the hystericals got it wrong. Have you seen thier new assurance that the economy will really feel pain once Article 50 is triggered, more ridiculous clumsy thinking. Nothing will change, trade will go on between willing adults with livelihoods at stake and no Government will seek to hamper its own trade.

    etc ed

  17. Bob
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    So Keith Vaz was effectively voted onto the Justice Select Committee by the Tories.
    What is going on?

  18. Antisthenes
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    There appears to be wide spread ignorance about the workings of the EU and international organisations . Not unexpected as there are so many treaties and responsibilities covering a myriad of multilateral and bilateral obligations many having an order of precedence (what we sometime think is coming from the EU is coming from another body just being handed down).

    I count myself amongst the ignorant along side nearly all of the remainers and a large proportion of the leavers. The difference between the remainers and me and less knowledgeable leavers I believe is that we recognise our short comings and try not to make claims that do not have at least some foundation in fact. We defer to others more knowledgeable and follow their lead if we like the Brexit solution that their analysis provides.

    Another distinction I feel is that the Brexit referendum and vote to leave has thrown up a wealth of information on how the world and EU works(if you sift through the misinformation and spin of the remainers). The inter connectivity and the legal ramifications of this interaction between countries. The understanding of which is now more open to learning about what is possible and what is not.

    Remainers often ignore or deny the information because it damages their case for remaining in (it does not do them any service because it so often is exposed that they are doing that). Leavers, us the ignorant and the rest are learning quickly and slowly but surely are breaking down and removing erroneous objections to a quick and speedy Brexit. Unfortunately we may not be able to do so completely and may have to compromise and not get everything we want but we will achieve a position visa vie the EU much better than we currently have.

  19. JM
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I have been pondering long and hard about the post-Brexit world. Many sleepless nights. These are my thoughts:

    1) When we voted to join the Common Market we thought we were joining a free trade area. We did not read the small print. In fact we were signing up to a one-way street to political union with a ratchet. Only forward steps were permitted.

    2) The EU is deeply undemocratic. Only the Commission has the power to propose laws. Commissioners are all fully committed to the ‘Project’ as it is known. The Parliament is a fig leaf. It can only approve or disapprove a law. It cannot amend. Legislation is not introduced in the Parliament. There is no European government formed by those who are able to command a majority in the Parliament.

    3) We were never committed to the Project. That is why we did not join the single currency or the Schengen area and why we had other opt outs and or rebate.

    4) It was made crystal clear during the campaign by both Remain and Leave campaign that if we voted out, we would be leaving the single market.

    5) All countries have access to the single market whether or not they are members of the EU or not. The question is upon what terms do they have that access.

    6) The remaining states, the Commission, the Parliament and the (five) Presidents have all made it clear that if we want to have access to the single market on the terms that we presently enjoy as members of the EU we will have to sign up to freedom of movement, abide by their rules, submit to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and pay a fee. These were all the issues, particularly the first, that heavily influenced those who voted leave. They are in fact red lines for the electorate as it expressed its will through the ballot box.

    7) The depreciation in the currency has not been caused by the leave vote, but it might have influenced the timing. Economists were writing as long as two years ago that the pound was some 20% over-valued and needed to depreciate. It is what happens if you print money – aka quantitative easing.

    8) Politicians who speak about getting the best deal for Britain are living in cloud cuckoo land. See 6) above. There is and will be an impasse. The EU has to hold the line. Otherwise there is no point to the organisation. If we concede on any of those matters, we did we vote to leave.

    9) Therefore the way forward is one of two options: WTO Rules (the fall in the pound has already compensated for any likely tariffs) or unilateral free trade. The latter worked very well for us for very many years prior to the Great War. It works very well for other economies around the world – albeit much smaller than the UK. Just imagine how powerful we could be if we were brave enough to take this option.

    10) I am fed up with people talking the country down. It is time we started to believe in ourselves. We are not washed up, useless or has beens. We are inventive and capable. We just need to re-discover the virtues of hard work and living within our means at both a personal and a national level.

    Here endeth the lesson!

    • Sam Stoner
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      “4) It was made crystal clear during the campaign by both Remain and Leave campaign that if we voted out, we would be leaving the single market.”

      You can, of course, keep saying this if it makes you feel good. But it will not change the fact that it is not true. We were told over and 0ver again by Mr Johnson and his chums that because the French want to sell us cheese and the Italians Prosecco, the terms of trade would not change.

      Reply That statement is not incompatible with leaving the single market! That is about access to the market.

      • Sam Stoner
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        If the terms of trade do not change, then we have not left the single market.

        That, Mr Redwood, is the very essence of things not changing. They stay the same.

        You might want access to the single market on terms that allow the UK to comply with fewer rules than do EU and EFTA states – but that is to argue for a change that the EU is unlikely to accept, and of relevance to this discussion, it is emphatically not what Vote Leave explained to us was the plan.

      • David Price
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        We were told over and over again by the lead exponents of project Fear (The Remain camp), Cameron and Osbourne, that the consequence of Brexit would be to leave the single market.

        Cameron stated on the Marr show (12/06/2016) that “What the British public will be voting for is to leave the EU and leave the single market.”

        The BBC has removed this scintillating video from their website but you can still view it on Youtube, just search there for “marr cameron brexit” and it should be the first item.

        Cameron also stated his government would implement whatever the voters decided and there was no indication whatsoever that he would resign office instead of keeping his word. So why would anyone not believe what he and the Remain group said about leaving the single market in the event of a Brexit vote?

        The fact is that JM’s item 4 is true and you are clutching at straws.

        • Sam Stoner
          Posted November 3, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

          So your evidence for the content of the Vote Leave campaign is statements made by the leaders of the Remain campaign?

          I know who is clutching straws and it is not me

          Fact is, we voted to Leave the EU. Not a word on the ballot paper about the single market. And you can be in the single market without being in the EU, like Norway

          • David Price
            Posted November 3, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            There’s lots of evidence around if you are bothered to look for it.

            The referendum was not a vote for a new government so statements of intent and policy from the government of the time were a key factor, they were asking for the electorate’s instruction after all.

            However … in the Vote.Leave official brochure entitled “Vote Leave, Take Control”, page 3;

            “We negotiate a new UK-EU deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation”

            Or if you want something more direct – Michael Gove in the FT on May 8th 2016 was reported to confirm Britain will quit Europe’s single market if the country votes to leave the EU.

            I offer evidence while you offer wishful thinking.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 3, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

            If you are in the Single Market you have to accept the four pillars of the single market and pay billions in fees and accept all EU directives and laws
            You are therefore in the EU
            Access to the Single Market is different
            Many nations trade happily with Europe without agreeing to freedom of movement nor being in the single market

  20. Paul Cohen
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    When Mr Cameron earlier this year made his tour of the EU he pronounced the success he had and recommended it to the electorate. In fact he was unable to garner anything but window dressing for his efforts, but had a foretaste of what real bargaining would be like, and went rather quiet soon after.

    Mrs May’s recent meeting with the EU was an insult to her and to the UK – 5 minutes at 1 am was her lot, and was met with indifference.

    Claude Juncker seems to think he is some sort of demi-god etc ed and then making unguarded comments to the press expressing his real opinions.

    After the official talks begin we know that they will be protracted by design, and will never achieve the assent of 28 othe states, particularly if there are real “red lines” to be met. We ought simply to to say regarding trade that if the talks show no progress after a limited period we will simply take the better option of the WTO , this ought to kick start the rest of the negotiations. It is in the EU’s interest to prolong matters in the hope that at some point there could be perhaps a change of government more sympathetic to the EU stance and agreeing to a watered down arrangement.

  21. Colin Hart
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Looks like someone forgot to cancel our WTO membership. Give that person a peerage.

  22. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    For most Remainers, the intricacies of the EU vice-hold on the UK, has been an education. ( when they realise it ) They squirm-vexatious finding added reasons why they were originally correct. In so doing they come across all manner of laws and rules of which they were previously unaware. They place themselves in the position of rejoicing in new-found legal obstacles.
    If they give themselves a reality-check they may conclude that every obstacle, every difficulty undermines their Remain position. By their own mouths they say “We cannot escape even if we wanted to. ”
    What benevolent organisation would have its members virtually imprisoned lest they disagreed with the fantastic benefits of membership? Why would there be a need or a desire?
    However long it takes, we must escape the EU regulatory sticky web before our lifeblood is eventually sucked out of us.

    On this note, it is surprising to me at least post-referendum , that anyone in Parliament at least considers themselves Remainers still. I imagined Brexiteers had they lost would be sore, mardy, and hyper-critical for a week or so because this is what humans do when faced with disappointment. But Remainers haven’t just thrown their toys out of the pram, they continue stamping their feet and squawking like backstabbed buzzards at every opportunity. It is a surprise, but they appear to have invested too much of themselves in the Argument.
    The voters decision to Leave was not a personal attack upon them. They are taking it as such and oft quote the amount of people who voted to Remain convinced each and every one of them knew what he was voting for and that Leave voters were one lettuce leaf short of a picnic.
    They must feel very lonely living in a land more than half full of such people. Germany is nice this time of year. They should emigrate to Germany. When they arrive they can tell everyone there “Vee should hev vun ze vote!” They will make lots of new friends easily, I’ll be bound.

  23. fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Music to my ears John. Why give others our voice when they are probably not saying what we would like to convey anyway? More scaremongering amongst the Remoaners.

  24. PennyOff
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Who would have thought the the Remain camp would grasp at straws after losing so decisively in the referendum ?
    Why would they resort to Parliamentary time-wasting and court cases attempting the prevention of Brexit?
    Anna Soubry was on SkyNews this morning. Ex-barrister one-up, up-market, two for the price of one on the late Margaret Thatcher’s corner shop mentality.She has a 4,000 or so majority in the lat general Election and in the Constituency of Broxstowe 5000 more voted Leave than Remain. She may pay a very high price for her continued Remainderness. But she says what she actually believes in her heart which sets her as a green lonely isle in the wicked dark stormy deceitful Remainer ocean.Unfortunately her dry isle is only 6 foot by 3 foot and 6 foot above sea level.

  25. margaret
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    It reminds me of the NHS . I started working for them in 1968 and have had a couple of breaks for different reasons. Every time you are re employed the previous NHS membership is forgotten. Similarly I have been working at a practice since 2003 but after a year and a half elsewhere it wasn’t recognised that I had ever been there. They try it on all the time. They cannot stand others having more experience and roots. Who are they ?

  26. Sesn
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    We will get our vote, when we leave the Eu!
    From what I read and all the feet dragging from the government on Brexit, not to mention the remoaners fighting to end Brexit.

    Will we leave before Hell freezes over.
    I’m starting to think not as more and more stupid excuses to why we go slowly, slowly come out.

  27. Kevin
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    A slight digression:
    One of the more laughter-inducing elements of Project Fear was that the E.U. (which Britain joined nearly thirty years after World War II) was necessary to prevent another war with Germany.

    Here are a couple of questions on that front:
    1) how many wars have we fought with Japan since 1945?
    2) is Japan a member of the E.U.?

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      The EU was also about creating peace and prosperity in Europe as a whole to prevent Communist and Fascist dictators popping up here and there and the trouble they can cause.
      No-one in modern, Edwardian England as it was then, expected the horrors of the WW1, and then the Russian Revolution, and then Fascist dictators popping up all over the place, and then WW2 and the Holocaust, and then Communist Eastern Europe, and more dictators, and the genocide in Bosnia and so on.
      Even on our own doorstep, we had the troubles in N. Ireland, with poverty in Ireland, as a whole, playing an important role in this. Ireland, as a whole prospered in the EU. The Republic is now one of the richest countries in the world and one of our main trading partners. And terrorism has largely disappeard from these isles.
      Geopoltics is something crucial to our long-term peace and security, but something that Brexiteers generally completely leave out in their dicussions about what’s best for this country.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        NATO

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Hardly; how often has it been said, even by some Remainers like Cameron as well as by many Leavers, that WE DO NOT WANT TO BE PART OF A EUROPEAN FEDERATION? That’s the geopolitics, and we don’t like it.

      • Kevin
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        So, the answers were:
        1) None.
        2) No.

  28. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    The whole issue of cyber security is a self-inflicted trojan horse to our economy and culture.
    The Belief in modern technology in some ways, in fact many ways, parallels the belief systems of religions and those of the Green and Socialist ideologies.

    I was once in a tiny roadside cafe which had only three 4-seater tables, I was the lone customer at 1pm. Two owners/cooks/sales assistants were however very busy at the eight foot long counter talking to a website domain salesman who appeared to be successfully selling them £300 Pounds worth of website, per annum, which he said would enhance their trade. I’m afraid truck drivers are not going to go off main roads and try parking in front of a tiny cafe. They do not actually look on the internet for such places. Know Your Customer!

    The Point: Businesses tiny to huge, do not actually think through the minutia relating to computerisation. Brought up with smartphones and iphones and laptops, we BELIEVE in them as a general good.
    So Mr Hammond was speaking to Business leaders about Cyber Security. How one huge corporation lost hundreds of thousands of customer-sensitive informations overnight to hackers and spoilers. He did not cite cost; financial implications . One possible reason that they are so intricately vast that they are for all intents and purposes incalculable.
    In business as elsewhere if you are unable to calculate possible loss then STOP.

    One American businessman famously threatened to sack any executive caught using a cell phone or making a text message. As far as I’m aware he did not go out of business. He may have got the edge on his competitors as information relating to his business could not be downloaded in seconds and sent to rivals.

    We heard months ago of a UK defence company which had its pioneering designs hacked and stolen allegedly by China. Well, if you’re not clever enough, bright enough to lock your door and not keep all your valuables in one place then….. You can’t hack a paper filing cabinet.

  29. Gorgeous
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Eerie, I was truly amazed at the time, but the Remain Labour MPs in my locality did not campaign for Remain doorstepping throughout the entire referendum except in the last day or two. Soon afterwards Mr Corbyn was accused of not backing to the full and campaigning for Remain.
    My view is that they and the other Remainer MPs were so cocksure it would be a Remain vote and they thought they had the luxury to not campaign and so reduce all the figures for Remain and simultaneously make Mr Corbyn look bad. They massively miscalculated. On two counts.
    There is nothing still, about the 171 PLP MPs which is worthwhile.

  30. Thank goodness
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    You were not one of the 159.

  31. TarzanoftheKennel
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    So what does ISIL;ISIS; Daesh;Al-Qaeda have against the WTO? They were pretty upfront in their opinion about it but never said why?

  32. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Some on this website have argued the EU is socialist.
    But the EU was set up, essnetially, by Helmut Kohl, a Conservative who George Bush Sr praised as the greatest European leader of the last 50 years. But there’s more than this.
    The largest party in the European Parliament since 1999 is the EEP – a Conservative party. And the EEP has been the biggest party in the European Council since 2002. And the EEP is by far the largest party in the current European Commision.
    Therefore describing the EU as socialist is a Brexit myth.
    And since Conservatives are certainly more focused on business and nation than socialists, you can bet that the Conservatives across Europe will now see the UK as a competitor to them in business, and not just the future and well-being of the EU.
    Therefore, the Germans, the Dutch, the Scandanavians, the French and others will relish a commerical battle with the UK. It won’t be about being nasty. But about business. But it will be all of them ganging up against us, trying to take our business, and what’s more, they’ll be seen as the good guys in Europe, as well as in many parts of the world, where we’ve annoyed people in Japan, China and the US.
    Have Brexiteers thought about this, let alone realise that the EU is stuffed with Conservatives out to protect their countries business interests in any spat with the UK over the EU?

    • Edward2
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Parliament it has approx 250 out of 750
      And no overall majority in commission nor council

      And if you think the majority of the EEP is right wing you have an odd view of their politics.

  33. John O'Leary
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    JR, could you please explain why you are happy that the UK should continue to pay subscriptions to the WTO, but not to remain in the Single Market where we currently obtain much greater benefit.

    Reply The sub for the WTO is much lower than the contributions to the EU, and our market access worldwide much greater

    • kEK
      Posted November 1, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      WTO doesn’t have freedom of movement as a necessary condition of membership plus ECJ.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      2015 contributions, in CHF, at the moment 1 CHF = £0.84.

      https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/secre_e/contrib_e.htm

      United Kingdom 7,579,535

      Three orders of magnitude smaller than the UK contribution to the EU.

    • David Price
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      But we trade more outside the EU than in it yet it appears we must pay the EU to allow it to export more to us than we do to it. This seems a very screwed up trade relationship to me.

  34. ian
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I like WTO rules because it gives you options instead of a straight jacket which you can add free trade to when you want or to what you want.

  35. Babylon
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Yvette Cooper and Harriet Harman have momentarily vanished. It is a pity. Both were championesses for bringing “babies into the UK for the Calais Jungle”. Their contribution as to exactly where they may be weaned and of course succoured is highly sought.

  36. John Finn
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    More and more I’m hearing that tariffs are less of an issue for exporters than “non-tariff barriers”. Some commentators seem to be suggesting it was the non tariff barriers that Nissan were most concerned about. This appears to be an area where the EU could make things particularly difficult for UK exporters. Richard North, in his “flexcit paper” describes the problem of acquiring Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) which will be required if we trade under WTO rules.

    Does anyone have an opinion on this?

    • Sam Stoner
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      You are quite right. In international trade it is NTBs, not tariffs, that are the big issue, especially (for the UK) NTBs on services.
      WTO rules do very little to help address NTBs, especially on services. The EU isn’t perfect at the job but better than anything else that ever existed.
      Anyone who -like Mr Redwood – focuses on tariffs does not get the real issue. Mrs May does, which is why she is trying to find a way to stay in the single market, which is relatively free of NTBs

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        And there is no insurmountable reason why the present – not perfect but better than anything else – arrangements for trade between the UK and the rest of the EU should not be maintained on a new legal footing after the UK has left the EU, apart from the stupidity and spite of some continental politicians who say they want to liberalise trade but seem intent on doing the opposite.

        I very much hope that you are wrong and Theresa May will not come out in favour of staying in the EU Single Market.

        • Sam Stoner
          Posted November 2, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Well, of course. But if you want no change in the arrangements for EU-UK trade, then you are saying you want to stay in the single market.

          Reply Not so. We leave to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 3, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            It is not necessary to formally institute a “single market” to remove both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, and in theory the EU has committed itself to doing that for the whole world, see the EU treaty articles I listed here:

            http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2016/10/30/dr-roy-spendlove-moves-to-the-brexit-department/#comment-839426

            Nor should it be necessary to continue to be part of any such “single market” to continue to enjoy whatever benefits may have arisen from the already accomplished removal of barriers to trade. That is a political decision, either there is an agreement not to reintroduce the previous barriers and take any necessary practical steps to ensure that, or some countries decide that they no longer wish to trade as freely with another country simply because it has rejected their political vision.

      • John Finn
        Posted November 2, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        I’m not suggesting this is what we should do, but is a “phased” (soft -> hard) Brexit a feasible option. I suppose it would depend on how accommodating the EU are prepared to be.

        My thinking is that a soft Brexit for a few years might give some of the EU wounds time to heal.

        • David Price
          Posted November 2, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          Why must all the consideration be given to the EU’s concerns?

          • John Finn
            Posted November 3, 2016 at 12:04 am | Permalink

            Why must all the consideration be given to the EU’s concerns?

            1. I’m not sure I said that “all the consideration be given to the EU’s concerns”.
            2. We need to remain in the single market – for the time being at least. I’ve become convinced of that (as has May) in the last week or so.
            3. Currently, the EU is clearly more intent in giving us a hard time than negotiating a mutually beneficial deal .

          • David Price
            Posted November 3, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

            Why should consideration be given to the EU’s “wounds to heal” when they have given us very little consideration in the 40 years.

            EU and the associated single market membership, entailing free movement and fees, was rejected by the electorate. Mrs May took on the leadership in the knowledge of that. If she is not willing to achieve that in good time then she should pass the leadership to someone who is.

            Why do we need to be in the single market versus simply have access like so many other countries have? I don’t see the need and I suspect many others will see this attempt as a rejection of the referendum results by people who put the EU first rather than their own countrymen.

    • David Price
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Dennis Cooper point mentioned a site a few blogs ago called ” a door to freedom” which offers an interesting perspective on this. One thing in particular that struck me is if the EU unilaterally drops MRAs for UK standards and certification agencies then it will impact countries other than the UK which import into the EU. I wonder how the EU bureaucrats will resolve those disputes when nothing will have changed technically in the compliance requirements.

  37. anon
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    We keep paying the EU subscriptions. Once they stop, the balance between parties will change.

    Will the EU budget spending be reduced? How will countries who were previously net positive respond or be in a position to respond.

    What happens if more than one country issues an article 50 letter , who gets out first?

    Cant understand why other countries are not seriously considering exit options in a similar time frame?

    Delaying our exit is pointless and self defeating, unless of course that is your intention.

  38. Richard
    Posted November 2, 2016 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Can’t believe you are actually advocating WTO terms would be preferable to being in EU. That is obviously not the case. Only benefit (in your view, not mine) of leaving EU is ending free movement of EU nationals into UK and UK nationals into EU. And of course that will come with a cost. The question is how much of a economic hit is UK prepared to take to control immigration, and from what you have said you are prepared for the UK to take a big financial hit.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 3, 2016 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    The more I read about this and similar issues, the more I think it is important to include in our Article 50 letter the statement that the UK will leave the EU within 2 years at most COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.

    We should also ask for the maximum that the UK wants at the same time, as our negotiating position. Then the ball will be in the EU’s court.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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