Trade conflicts and contradictions

The UK establishment including the Blairite wing of the Labour party like contradicting themselves on trade. They tell us free trade is essential to the UK’s prosperity, and for that reason we need to stay in the EU to have tariff free trade with the other states. They go quiet about the fact that staying in the EU and its Customs Union means we do not have free trade with the rest of the world, but have to trade over high food and drink tariffs, vehicle tariffs and numerous non tariff barriers to trade. Our trade with the rest of the world is larger than our trade with the rest of the EU, and usually faster growing, despite these obstacles.

They also gloss over the way the EU is responding to the the USA both in response to Mr Trump’s words and actions where he is imposing tariffs and talking of more barriers, and as a result of the EU attacking various US companies and sectors. Mr Trump says he wants reciprocal trade arrangements, his word for fair. He says he wants the trade deal offered by the EU to the US to mirror that offered by the US to the EU. So, for example, Mr Trump says to the EU there is only a 2.4% tariff on EU cars into the USA but a 10% tariff on US cars into the EU. Does the EU intend to level this down, or is the EU relaxed about US retaliatory action on this matter? Is there sone counter to this likely to see off more tariffs?

Instead of dealing with these issues the EU is busily seeking ways to regulate and tax US corporations who are good at the digital economy more. At the same time as the USA is cutting corporate taxes to make business more welcome in the USA the EU is trying to find a turnover tax which will hit mainly US technology companies operating in the EU. Will this wind the President up to further unhelpful tariff action and give him in his view more grounds for unhelpful action?

Mr Trump points out that the USA has a collossal trade deficit with the rest of the world, dominated by its large deficits with China and Germany. He is taking specific action against China as he is worried about alleged theft of intellectual property and unfair subsidies. He is concerned about the huge number of EU cars imported into the USA and the unfair tariff arrangements, and may make a move on that as well.

The UK pays to trade with the rest of the EU. It means paying to run a large deficit with them. The big imbalance in food and drink is particularly curious, as we are barred from importing more from cheaper places outside the EU by a high tariff wall, and impeded in the better answer of producing more of our own by the Common Fishing and Farming policies. It is difficult to see the EU as a paragon of free trade when you look at the complex and defensive structure of the EU Customs Union and its complex regulatory and subsidy systems.

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143 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning,

    These troublesome relationship discussions remind me of an employee I once had. He’d come with a difficult problem that needed his urgent attention and he’d have to go and work out a solution with a supplier or some third party. He’d come back with the solution which was invariable a ‘good deal’ negotiated settlement, that cost the company some fee. We cottoned on to this scam after a while. I feel like we’re in the same kind of situation now.
    People trade, politicians frustrate trade.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      “People trade, politicians frustrate trade.”

      Yes indeed, but it is over more the bureaucrats who are, after all, mainly in the business of over regulating, taxing, banning or licencing anything they are allowed to. Climate alarmism and Health and Safety were brilliant for them. Giving them endless excuses to interfere and tax almost anything at all up to and including breathing.

      There is also the distortion of trade by the “well connected”, seeking to get politicians and/or bureaucrats or “forced (by new regulations) customers” to hose cash in their general direction. Through perhaps greencrap grants, HIP packs, health and safely regulations and suchlike.

      Plus the finance sector, legal sector, compliance sector and others who get away with endless parasitising on the productive.

      What proportion of people in the UK’s working hours is actually producing anything of real value? About 30% at best would be my guess. At least 50% of jobs do nothing productive at all. Very many just inconvenience the productive and so produce less then nothing.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Peter and LL
        Two excellent posts
        Thank you both

        • Hope
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Daivs,was,dreadful on Marr today full of contradictions, slight of hand comments. I would not trust him he has been totally useless. Pity he did not keep his word and resign when green was sacked.

          JR, Davis is not clear about the amount to talk about trade. It is either only £40 billion or it is £100 billion because it includes U.K. Assets as he told Priti Patel in Parliament. Has he such a poor memory he cannot remember? Davis also wants to dance around th fishing stock issue without being definite whether he is capitulating again or traditional g it away.

          I still fail to see, based on evidence, facts, the there countries ability to trade with each other and your blogs, what the U.K. is getting for all of the govts surrendering to EU demands that it could not get by trading on WTO terms? Davis also left UK taxpayers’ cheque book wide open for additional payments! From March 2019 we voted to be an independent country and we were told we would have control over our borders, laws as money. May has surrendered on everything for nothing in return. It must be clear by now she is trying to keep the U.K. In the EU by another name.

  2. Mark B
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    President Trump is deliberately upsetting the apple cart. And quite right too ! The USA has a President that will not sit quietly and watch his country be reduced to a pauper, have its core strategic industries ruined and others generally live off their backs. Germany and many other EU and non-EU NATO countries enjoy subsidised defence. In fact, our PM is also happy to subsidies their defence, all the time they are picking our pockets whilst smiling to our faces. President Trump wants fair trade equal trade, what is wrong with that ?

    Look at the Single Market in Services ? There is none ! Why ? Because the UK is strong in this sector and the others do not want London and the UK to dominate this market. Paris and Frankfurt are nowhere near, so they, the Germans and the French block us. Some free market ! Something that is not put to Remainers.

  3. oldtimer
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    It is worth noting that on pick up trucks, by far the biggest single vehicle sector in the USA, the USA levies a 25% “chicken tax” in such imports. This dates back to the distant mists of time when it was imposed as a retaliatory import duty in response to some otherwise unrelated issue. Although the original causus belli has long since disappeared the chicken tax remains in place. We can expect other anomalies to appear and then survive to acquire a life of their own. Free trade negotiators need to be on their mettle when dealing with such issues.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Indeed you make excellent points but May and Hammond have agreed to have all these restrictions on free trade to continue and for the UK to continue to pay for our large fee to run this EU trade deficit.

    They also keep heaping higher and higher taxes, tax complexity, endless regulations, expensive greencrap energy and other pointless costs on to business. This to ensure UK business has difficuly competing, to damage the economy and to destroy UK jobs one assumes.

    Perhaps they can explain if this is not actually their plan?

    “Cars to be slower than cycling” says the Telegraph yesterday. This certainly seems to be the Governments plan. This should help damage productivity even further. The M25 is often slower than jogging (or even walking sometimes) already.

    Is the Governments plan to have everyone working as lawyers, tax accountants, health and safety experts, compliance experts, working for the state, at home waiting for their NHS operation, issuing fines for motorists or stuck in traffic jams? This seems to be the plan.

  5. Andy
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Ironic – Brexiteers claim to love free trade. Except, of course, when it is the trade in blue passports. Then protectionism is okay.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      The fuss over blue passports is indeed silly, but it is very revealing that this is all you can come up with to JR’s comprehensive debunking of the EU’s dysfunctional humbug on tariffs, free trade etc!

      • Andy
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Oh – there is plenty more I can come up with. Blue passports are just topical and amusing.

        Personally I do not care what colour my passport is or where it is made. What I do care is that your Brexit has massively downgraded my passport’s worth. Where it used to allow me to live and work freely in 30+ countries, after your Brexit my passport will enable to live and work freely in just 1. (Maybe 2 if they figure out the border question without creating a new war).

        My passport used to allow me to walk through airports and pass through ports across dozens of countries with cursory checks. After your Brexit I will be consigned to wait in long lines with the ‘other’ nationalities.

        My driving licence may need to be supplemented with an additional one because your Brexit will create more bureaucracy. All of this assumes I can afford to travel to Europe in the first place because your Brexit has massively downgraded the value of the pound against the Euro.

        My rights to claim decent compensation from lousy airlines will be massively reduced by your Brexit. Still, once I get to Europe, at least I won’t be hit by massive mobile roaming charges. (Oops).

        So, no. I don’t care about the colour of my passport or where it is made. I do care about the other stuff the hard-right Tory pensioners are stealing from me and my children.

      • Hope
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        France, Germany and the US all cite national security to have passports made in their own countries. Clueless Rudd is everything EU and it is a symbol the U.K. Is remaining in by another name.

        The govt is a disgrace and has betrayed the electorate. Phase one and two is absolutely clear on this point. The surrender was not necessary to talk about trade, the other 160 countries in the world perfectly well without giving away unlimited immigration, foreign power courts presiding over their citizens, paying £100 billion jus to talk about trade not the self! The world is watching in disbelief. Or as some papers say the U.K. Has surrendered to all EU demands. May and Davis are a national embarrassment as we deserve much better. What country allows another to control their waters and fishing stocks to talk about trade! Fishing being trade.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          You may want to learn a little more about the firm that was awarded the passport production contract. They have proprietary technology and make

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Yes Andy. A silly row, though one can’t help thinking that our civil service haven’t factored in local job losses or national security in their calculations.

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.032.01.0052.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:032:TOC

      EU ‘solidarity’ on gas supply.

      Doesn’t sound like we’re leaving a free market to me. More like a communist bloc – replete with lingo. (“solidarity”)

      • Hope
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        JR, still no sacking or investigation over the two civil servants KitKat policy to hand over our taxes and keep the U.K. wedded to the EU army, security and defence without the public knowledge. Why?

    • mickc
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      By Brexiteers you mean some sections of the media….not the same thing at all.

      If the government can save taxpayers money, buying from other countrissues is fine by me.

    • Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      What garbage these eu lovers spout….

      If we’d followed the pattern of other eu countries, in making some thing special about the documents, that only the UK could produce, then the order would have remained in the UK – but this just demonstrates how things are tilted within the EU towards those that know how to break the rules …..

      ….and this has nothing to do with trade – it’s all about politics!

    • Martyn G
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      The blue passport issue is not just about free trade, Andy. The decision to award the contract outside of the UK generated emotional and nationalistic feelings of objection, not least because the serious reasons for accepting the foreign bid have not been properly explained and we are left feeling badly let down by the government.
      Personally, I think that in the long run it matters not where they are made, so long as we are given to understand the reasons for the decision and that all security and other issues (difficulty of forging for example) have been taken fully into account and that simply cost was not just cost that was the decisive factor, as it seems at the moment to be. Is it fake news that some are now hinting that the UK bidder maybe elevated the cost and lost the contract because it has a problem with topping up its pension fund? But who knows these days for anything for sure? We should be told.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Security

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Absolutely fine with free trade. Apparently your erstwhile buddies the French, who have regulatory equivalence with us, aren’t, however. So regulatory equivalence within your customs union seems to be a movable feast.

    • Wessexboy
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Certain amount of security concern here, I would think? France itself thinks so with regard to its own passports…
      With regard to the best quote: surely taking corporation tax, income tax, vat on spending by employees into consideration the govt. has slipped up?

      • libertarian
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Wessexboy

        With your user handle I would have thought that you knew that the two Gemalto factories that will be producing these passports are both in Hampshire !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      So you and your Remoaner friends are in favour of free trade in passports …

      • acorn
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        A somewhat infantile response Denis? You appear to be running out of cogent arguments, just like the ERG 62.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          Sorted out your millions and billions yet?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      How do you feel about EU tariffs hitting some of the poorest countries that badly need to be able to sell their produce and grow their own economies?

      Would you not agree that it is in everyone’s interest to want to lift people out of poverty, not to create or prolong it?

      • acorn
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        It’s a choice, you can import the cheapest available from the third world and put your own domestic producers out of business, for any given level of domestic consumption.

        Last evening I was berated by some Brexiters, who told me to heed the words of Owen Paterson MP. “If we are to thrive, our post-Brexit model should exactly be Singapore, a tiny country devoid of natural resources but with a booming economy and an average life expectancy of 85,” what Britain needs is a little more east Asian laissez-faire: “low-tax, low-spend, low-regulation”. (The Telegraph piece this came from I think).

        After trying and failing to explain to them that import tariffs are used to balance commerce between diverse sovereign countries, that have adopted considerably different socio-economic models, I suggested they have a read of:

        “Singapore-on-Thames? This is no vision for post-Brexit Britain” Jeevan Vasagar

        • Tad Davison
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think UK banana growers need worry unnecessarily.

      • Andy
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        I agree – it is in all of our interests to lift people out of poverty. Not just in the U.K. but around the world.

        Alas Brexiteers do not live up to their word on this. Faced with overwhelming evidence that Brexit will make most of us poorer (especially those who are currently poor) you dismiss the evidence. Faced with the evidence that foreign aid helps the poorest people in the world, you again dismiss the evidence.

        It appears you only want to help the poor when it does not get in the way of your ideology.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          “Overwhelming evidence”….A report much criticised which tries to predict 15 years into the future.
          By the same experts who got their immediate post vote doom predictions 100% wrong.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          Nothing makes people poorer than importing poor people to compete with them.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

          Utter crap! I have never made any secret of the fact that I am working class and I will prioritise the cause of the weak and the disenfranchised over the strong and the vested interests every day of the week! And that is what makes me so fervently opposed to the undemocratic European Union and the misery it continues to cause.

          I have weighed up the evidence over fifty years, and the Brexit case is unassailable. It is proven beyond any reasonable doubt on this and many other sites all the time. The remain argument is incomprehensible and down to ignorance, intransigence, and total inflexibility. All you people need to do is READ THE EVIDENCE.

          If you are so confident of your case, don’t make unsubstantiated assertions, put your evidence out there, and let us see it. The replies should change your point of view,

        • libertarian
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Andy

          Show me some evidence that foreign aid helps poor people. I spent a lot of time in African countries listening to local people plead for an end to aid and to be allowed to trade freely.

          • WA Laugh (or not)
            Posted March 29, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            30% of the world population still do not have access to drinkable water.
            2.6 million people die every year from water-linked diseases.
            2.3 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation.
            40% of world population likely to face water shortage before 2050.
            20% of Earth.s aquifers are already over exploited.
            70% of fresh water is used for agriculture.
            90% of water collecting is done by women in Africa.
            85% of world population without access to safe water and sanitation are located in three areas: Central and South Asia, East and South East Asia, and subSaharan Africa.
            $260 billion/year estimated economical losses due to inadequate water and sanitation.
            $1 invested in water and sanitation has been shown to bring $2 of economic activity.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      You might care to check what Keir Starmer said about that …

      https://www.politicshome.com/news/europe/eu-policy-agenda/brexit/news/93906/keir-starmer-says-new-blue-passport-should-be-made

      “Keir Starmer says new blue passport should be made by a British firm”

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      France, Germany, Spain & Italy plus the United States doesn’t allow passports to be produced overseas citing security concerns and possible theft. Apparently our unqualified failure of a Home Secretary doesn’t think we should be afforded the same protection.

      • Zorro
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Did she sign it off without reading it? This is typical smart arse Civil Service wallahs making a political point on the back of the jobs of fellow citizens. Maybe some of their jobs should be put out for tender? Such an obvious political own goal from a below par government……

        zorro

      • libertarian
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        Who said that the passports will be produced overseas? Gemalto has two factories in Hampshire

        The trouble with you protectionist types is you’d cut off your nose to spite your face. De La Rue produce passports, driver licences, security documents and polymer bank notes for over 40 countries. Maybe they should all award their contracts to domestic companies for “security” reasons .

        • A.Sedgwick
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Transit vans and Vauxhall cars?

          • libertarian
            Posted March 27, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            Products made by a US and a French company, whats your point?

    • libertarian
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Stop stereo typing not all 17.4 million of us are worried about Gemalto winning the passport contract….

      Oh and anyway Gemalto operate 3 offices and two factories in the UK already and they will be expanding their factory to cope with the new contract oh and they already produce our driving licences here

      Sacked your staff yet?

      • jerry
        Posted March 29, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        libertarian; ” Gemalto operate 3 offices and two factories in the UK already and they will be expanding their factory to cope with the new contract”

        Not a lot of comfort for any staff that might be made redundant by the previous contract holder, not unless Gemalto are going to build a new factory in the same locality – perhaps you could explain to such people, should the worst happen, how they might pay their mortgages and/or other debts?

  6. jerry
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    “The big imbalance in food and drink is particularly curious, as we are barred from importing more from cheaper places outside the EU by a high tariff wall, and impeded in the better answer of producing more of our own by the Common Fishing and Farming policies.”

    Indeed, but I do not read or hear any evidence that anything will change post Brexit, Defra appears to be planning to simply write EU polices as their own!

    Two questions to MPs and Defra, 1/. what are your thoughts on paying subsidies to farmers for actually farming the land, rather than setting it aside simply to pacify those who enjoy putting green wellies on their feet at the weekend and going for a walk. 2/. Chlorinated chicken and GM crops.

  7. agricola
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Paragraph one, 10/10. Trump is correct, Free Fair Trade means that the protectionist belt of the Customs Union has got to go, or the USA will curb it’s effect on themselves.

    If we do truly rid ourselves of this nonsense, and Mr Reese – Mogg questions the likelihood after a very imprecise transition agreement, then we can look forward to a marked reduction in the cost of living. If May is fudging the issue then expect defeat at the next general Election.

  8. Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Once again, Trump talks about reality, while his enemies curse him for bringing up their failures…

    We really could do with a Trump over here…

    • Richard
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      The UK needs to seize on the very fortunate free trade opportunity that Anglophile President Trump’s election success represents:

      We export £100Bn of G&S to the USA (our #1 export market). This is double what we export to Germany (#2).
      And the 2016 GDP of the USA alone was c.34% higher than the GDP of all EU27: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29

      The USA is also much more of a seamless single market (language, tax, regulation), particularly for Services than the EU27, so great scope for mutual trade to expand, particularly if Brussels tries to punish the UK.

  9. Richard1
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Continuity Remian often issue a challenge as to what EU policies / regulations are bad and the U.K. would be better being clear of. Here are two: the wholly irrational and unscientific ban on GM crops, which is holding up food prices in Europe and maintaining poverty in developing countries; and the strangulating regulation on fracking and consequent dependence on Russian gas, which puts the whole of Europe, including the U.K., at the mercy of Putin’s regime. The Govt should be clear that we will junk both from March 19. We can ensure that no cheap GM foods from the U.K., US or RoW make it into the EUs protectionist fortress if that what they want.

  10. Ghost of JB
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    A strange non-segue to your favourite bete noire… again avoiding all of the substantive points raised in the article.
    And it’s not merely difficult to see the EU as a paragon of free trade, it’s utterly impossible as the EU is protectionist to its core.

  11. Epikouros
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Trump can be excused for wanting a level playing field in international trade as he has evidence that points to unfair and sometimes illegal practices by the nations selling their goods and services into the USA. So morally he has a case unfortunately economically he does not. Trade deficits are no threat nor are differing tariffs (in fact if he was to offer unilaterally to place no tariffs on imports he would do the USA no harm despite that being counterintuitive). Intellectual properties rights are protected by international law but a case can be made that they should not be. In any event Trump’s tariff solution is entirely wrong as it will lead to trading conflicts which will cause many millions of consumer to suffer. He should seek another way to seek resolution of his grievances starting by addressing his own misperceptions about trade deficits and tariffs. At the same time seek to end all international trade tariffs and perhaps worry less about intellectual properties rights or at least find other ways to defend them(simple dialogue with the offending parties national governments may be sufficient).

    Brexit with its desire for the UK to trade freely(and there is no better advocate for free trade as the UK has successfully applied it in her past but then she was free to do so) with not just the EU(which is not as free as it appears as rules and regulations are just tariffs by other means) but everyone is a step in the right direction of encouraging a more prosperous and peaceful tariff free world. The EU’s single market is a major obstacle in achieving that. In fact the single market, other trading blocs and treaties encourages protectionism.

  12. JJE
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the government announce 3000 more midwifery training places. I’m not a doctor but I would have thought the first thing to do when haemorrhaging trained staff would be to close the wounds, not keep pumping through fresh blood.
    In any case the places will not be filled because the fact student nurses now have to pay course fees for their training makes the profession unaffordable.

    • Planet Earth
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      You live in the South of England don’t you!”profession unaffordable” indeed????!!!.

  13. Democrat
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    1st /people who voted Brexit did not understand
    2nd/people who voted Brexit did not have the right information
    3rd/people who voted Brexit were tricked
    4th/people who voted Brexit did so by Russian intervention
    5th/ people who voted Brexit did so by huge illegal payments by rich people
    6th/ people who voted Brexit did so because of conspiratorial manipulation of social media
    7th/ We should have another Brexit referendum vote
    8th/ The referendum should be whether to bring back hanging for those preaching 1-7,
    9th. Let that referendum campaign begin now

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      I voted Brexit and find this truly offensive.

      • Biggles High Flyer
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Then the Remoaners were right Anonymous, you did not know what you were voting for.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          I find that truly offensive too !

      • Brit
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        You could join the LibDems. They are lookign out for…..well, their jobs are all marked “Vacant”. You should get it.

      • Stred
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Read Point, 8.

    • Diane Abacus
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Not many Remoaners can count part 4 or 5 and won’t know what you mean.

  14. Alan
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    You can’t get round the fact that within the single market there is not only free trade, there is a uniform system of regulations. Trading with a company in an EU country is as easy as trading with a Scottish company. We will not get that when we leave, no matter what trade agreement we eventually make. The EU has trade agreements with the majority of countries in the world, which we will have to re-negotiate. We are cutting ourselves off from an organisation which has done more to promote international trade than any other – certainly more than the USA, Chine, or Japan.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      “Trading with a company in an EU country is as easy as trading with a Scottish company”, and vice versa; which makes it easier for the rest of the EU to run their chronic massive trade surplus with us.

      Funny how and your kind have such poor memories that you always forget that side of it, Alan, when you are preaching the so-called benefits of EU membership.

      • steveL
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Denis- if the EU is running a massive trade surplus with us then surely it is for UK government and business together to get out there and even things up..just because we are leaving doesn’t mean that things will get better in this regard, in fact things may get a hell of a lot worse- and probably will- especially if we are denied the bespoke agreements we say we want.

        Leaving the EU CU and SM is crazy for an island nation like ours perched on the edge of Europe..it is so crazy that generations to come will look back and marvel at the stupidity of it- very probably Luddites will come to mind

        • mancunius
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          Such a pity then that the EU did not consider how to create a truly single market, instead of building a Heath-Robinsonian bureaucratic nightmare around the vested interests of France and Germany, after having persuaded us to give up our veto.
          A customs union is not at all necessary for any FTA. Australia has a free trade agreement with NZ – but no need for a customs union. The purpose of the EU’s CU – and particularly its CET – is essentially political, not to encourage trade but to encourage membership.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

          Generations to come will look back and wonder why on earth we ever joined such a system, but probably be unable to say exactly when we joined and when we left without looking up the dates.

    • Planet Earth
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      You did not post from which planet you are writing.

    • Adam
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      EU Trade is not free. Members pay fees.

      ‘We’ are not ‘cutting ourselves off’. Leavers take control with freer choice.

      Customers decide. Sellers either satisfy customer demand or cease to exist.

      Soon the UK shall be able to sell to a world without an EU bouquet of barbed wire obstructing.

    • Zorro
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      What a lot of nonsense! Have you tried trading with French/German companies or setting up business there? Thought not….. The EU has trade agreements with a majority of countries? You are making that up. How many? The Uk has also signed those trade agreements as part of the EU and there is no reason to think that those countries would object to those agreements novating on exit.

      Hahahaha…. The EU has done more to promote international trade than any other country. Do you mean the creator and exponent of the CET? Hahaha….. 😂😂😂

      zorro

    • libertarian
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Alan

      I guess you’ve never actually run a business or traded in the EU , as you are totally wrong . A uniform system of regulations? Lol dont make me laugh. Try trading in certain service businesses in Germany then get back to me on that. I trade currently in Spain, Canada , Brazil and Japan. Spain is by far the hardest to do business with. Its the trouble with remainers they have never actually done the thing which they claim is the big benefit of the EU

      • Edward2
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        Easier to sell in America Canada and Australia than deal with all the complexities of meeting EU single market rules regs and paperwork I found.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Shocking news indeed that according to the anti-Brexit Observer there have may have been even more irregularities in EU referendum campaign spending than the Electoral Commission has already suspected and may have already investigated.

    Including dubious returns from the lead Remain campaign ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’, and the Liberal Democrats, and the European Movement, and Conservatives IN, just to make some highly partial extracts from the list given here in February 2017:

    https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/details-of-major-campaign-spending-during-eu-referendum-published-by-electoral-commission

    However none of it will any material impact of the overall picture, that including the £9.2 million of taxpayers’ money the government spent on its pro-Remain leaflet delivered to every household the Remain side sent roughly twice as much as the Leave side.

    £19.1 million + £9.2 million = £28.3 million by Remain, £13.4 million by Leave.

  16. hefner
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Just for the sake of being contrary: it shows a rather interesting mindset to compare access to the EU (with one set of regulations/constraints) and access to the « rest of the world », as if the RoW were a single entity, for which whatever the UK wants is going to be discussed and accepted under the same terms by countries as different in their outlooks as the USA, Russia, other Commonwealth countries (could they be all tuned to the same wavelength?), Asian, African, Caribbean, and South American countries?
    Why I concur with the overall gist of the argument, to treat the RoW as a « bloc » is rather naive.

    Reply we access ROW under WTO terms

    • hefner
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      So you are telling me that all countries in the RoW will all sign on the same line on the same day, and that’s that will be it. Well, good luck! All the British exporters will be overjoyed to realise it is so simple.

      • mancunius
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        WTO – no line to sign on.

        • WA Laugh
          Posted March 29, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Good to know that the 38 articles and nine annexes of GATT/GATS 1994 which make the WTO terms require not even a line to sign on. What a relief!

    • Mark B
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Good point. But we only have to follow the RotW in as far as individual countries that we trade with. The RotW does not set our laws, regulations and standards irrespective whether we sell to it or not.

      As for standards. These are international bodies that the UK no longer sits on in it own right. Outside the EU we shall and we shall speak for ourselves and act in our own interests.

  17. duncan
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    It is vital that people understand what the EU actually is. It is not a trading bloc. At its heart the EU is a political entity with a political objective. Trade is seen as nothing more than a conduit or more precisely part of a strategy to create economic dependency on the host, Germany. Dependency affords leverage. As a child we turn to our parents for support because we are dependent upon them for our wants. Well, the EU (Germany) is the parent and other EU member states are the children. That dependent dynamic is now set in stone and affords Germany, the Bundesbank and the EU huge leverage over the actions of other EU member state governments

    The more dependent and inter-dependent other EU member states are with each other and ultimately Germany the more leverage Germany and the EU possess over their children

    All parents protect and chastise their children in equal measures. And all parents will fight to defend their role. The EU (Germany) will fight to defend its role and influence over other EU member states. Trump’s insistence is a threat to the Eurozone and the EU appreciates this

    The EU is never what it seems though being a political animal power and the accumulation and abuse of power is never too far away from its behaviour

    • robert lewy
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      The analogy breakdown because in a Parent – Child relationship the parent has an innate interest in the protection and furtherance of its own Genes.

      Does this therefore explain the EU threat of retaliation by placing tariffs on blue jeans?

      Or was there a sort of linguistic misunderstanding?

      • mancunius
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        I think Juncker mentioned Harley Davidsons and blue jeans because his entire knowledge of the US is drawn from watching Easy Rider and German Marlboro ‘cowboy’ ads.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Correct. But it goes far deeper than this. Look up the, Round Table of Industrialists. Not some shadowy organisations, they are quite open, but they work to lobby the EU on matters that affect our lives. And very influential they are too !

  18. billR
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    As regards trade the EU is acting no differently than the UK did in earlier times..so the bloc that holds the power makes the rules to suit themselves..always did even in Roman times..ie UK wollen acts, cattle acts, linen laws, all British laws introduced where exports and imports had to go through certain ports only so that the usual 2 per cent could be clippped by the fat merchants of the day and then another 2 percent by the government.. it’s all the same old story..just today it’s on a much grander scale- so better get off your high horse- the UK was never ever a paragon of free trade, only when it suited it’s own purposes- think about it- the opium wars with China- cotton from India- still represented on their flag? and sugar and tea plantations with slave labour- hardly anything free about any of this

    • Mark B
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      When we were dismantling our Empire we never forced those former colonies to accept a vassal status.

  19. Peter D Gardner
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I can’t help admiring Dr Redwood for continuing his lectures in elementary economics and commonsense to the ignorant wishful thinkers who oppose Brexit and who advance outdated and erroneous socialist ideas. I couldn’t do it. I just don’t have the patience. I dismiss them and move on

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Even at an elementary level Mr Redwood bends the teaching to suit his own preferences. But if these teachings comfort you, why not?

      • mancunius
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        As usual, no counter-argument from you, just another sneere-ette from Festung Europa.

  20. Billy Elliot
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Lets not forget that large number of our non EU trade is based on trade agreements…negotiated by EU.

    Do I understand correctly that you are now supporting D Trump?
    You must be aware that there are mechanisms to deal with trade issues? What it comes to steel for example D Trump/USA should take the case to WTO trade commission instead of a trade war.

    Reply No I am not supporting Mr Trump! I am a UK Conservative supporting the UK and wanting Brexit asap

    • Far away
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      You are behind the times with possible steel and other tariffs on the UK, Europe, Argentina, Canada and Mexico and a whole host of other countries too. You will find Argentina is not only not a member of the EU despite it being Corbyn’s ” Beacon of socialist hope to the world”…but has absolutely no power whatsoever, especially economically against the USA. Go figure! Look up “countries with exemptions, steel tariffs “or similar on the internet.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        You will find Argentina is not only not a member of the EU despite it being Corbyn’s ” Beacon of socialist hope to the world”

        No, your thinking of Venezuela. Still crackpot thought !

    • Trumpeteer
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I am a Trump supporter. Why should “D Trump/USA should take the case to WTO trade commission instead of a trade war.”?
      First it is the business of America from whom it buys steel according to its own laws and institutions as it is not part of the EU, and for other reasons.
      Second. It is not a trade WAR. The EU called it a trade war, declared it a war, declared WAR. Let that sink in.
      Try not to rely on foreign organisations to determine with whom we are at WAR, even regarding trade. You are lucky. We leave the EU very soon.

  21. hans chr iversen
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    John

    Lots of good arguments,
    but the Eu still remains the single biggest free trade zone for the members in the World.

    Do you think we are better placed to argue with the US and China about tariff and non-tariff barriers on our own. In a World where further seems the order of the day, in spite of the WTO?

    • Edward2
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Easier to get two parties to agree than twenty eight.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        not if you negotiate from strength which they usually do with 500 million consumers behind them

        • Edward2
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          THe EU have still to agree trade deals started many years ago due to individual nation vetoes when the rest want to do a deal.

        • Elsie Tanner
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

          500 million consumers, as you put it, are not behind them. Have you spoken to each one and got their opinion? Of course not. Neither have their respective governments, neither has the EU. Generally speaking it is quite hard to hear the individual burps and laughs of 500 million people…or represent them adequately according to the western model of representative democracy.

    • Far away
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Mexico changed the Trump’s mind about steel tariffs before the EU had even been temporarily aroused out of its coma. You will find Mexico is not a member of the EU . Please do not try finding it in Europe on a map. It’s not there. It is somewhere else. It is not a European country at all. Really!

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        this is because they are in a free trade zone with the US. A free trade zone like the EU

        • Edward2
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Yet Mexico does not pay billions to America nor does it have accept American supremacy over its laws.

          • hans chr iversen
            Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            oh, is that really what you believe I am not sure the Mexicans will agree with you on that one

          • Edward2
            Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            Rien
            Canada and Mexico are independent nations that border America
            Their governments and courts are supreme.
            They are independent sovereign nations.

            The UK is not.

        • Far Away
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          But I thought Trump was racially discriminating against Mexicans? The Trump wall with Mexico has justt received it first $2 Billion and is stated on the orders of Trump”immediately”. “Free trade Zone”???? . Try to be consistent at least, with your silly arguments.

    • Woody
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      But it isn’t free is it? It costs us c 10 billion net despite a massive trade deficit with the other states. We will be better placed to trade with any other non eu nation as we won’t be tied to eu regulations and constraints.

    • libertarian
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      hans

      To answer your question YES we are

      Oh you do know that the EU has so far FAILED to negotiate an agreement with the US

  22. hans chr iversen
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Interesting new statistic the trade weighted index of the pound is 13 % lower in the 21 months after the Brexit referendum, than the 21 months prior to the referendum.

    Reply Tradeweighted now is same as in the summer of 2013 when we were firmly in EU with no plans to leave, and is 5% below April 2016 pre vote

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s becoming tedious, but yet again I repeat that any change since the referendum has to be viewed in the light of the trend existing before the referendum. That should not be too difficult to understand, at least for those who want to get a fair picture of what the effects of the referendum may have been.

      In this case, here is a chart of the effective exchange rate of the pound sterling:

      https://www.poundsterlinglive.com/bank-of-england-spot/historical-effective-exchange-rates/GBP-history

      and after peaking at around 94 in early August 2015 it started on a downwards leg and bottomed in middle of early October 2016 at around 74.

      True, there was a brief upwards spike up in the spring of 2016, up to 84 and then back down, but not one which obviously stands out from numerous fluctuations of similar scale and duration over the years.

      I doubt that anybody in the future will be able to pinpoint when the referendum took place from a chart of that kind; if they just had some vague idea of when it took place and they had been told that it caused a drop in the value of the pound then they would be much more likely to pick some date in August 2015.

  23. Chris
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Until the transition deal is identified, by those purporting to uphold democracy, the betrayal that it is, any other discussion is secondary. I see that Jacob Rees-Mogg at least is making an effort:
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/936586/brexit-news-uk-eu-jacob-rees-mogg-theresa-may-crunch-talks
    Brexit showdown: Rees-Mogg demands May stands up to EU to AVOID ‘humiliation size of Suez’
    JACOB REES-MOGG will hold crunch talks with Theresa May this week urging her to stand up to Brussels after she agreed to allow the EU to maintain control of fisheries policy until the end of 2020…..
    “The Eurosceptic MP, who is chairman of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tories, will lead a delegation to Downing Street in a bid to ensure that the government does not make too many concessions when it comes to negotiating the UK’s final deal with the EU…..”

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      are we talking about Jacob who never has anything positive to say about anything or anybody?

  24. Adam
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    What Donald Trump seeks on free trade appears as fair as equality itself allows.

    The entrenched EU emits a stench of stagnant incompetence. One’s better sense avoids repellant whiffs, distinct from becoming so accustomed, to tolerate recurring discomfort within their dogma.

  25. Trader
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    There are a series of moves by the UK from around 1945 onwards to deny itself selling stuff to Russia.
    It has reached such a point that the UK has no more trade it can deny itself except that which keep UK citizens from dying of cold.
    You know, something is not quite right with the strategic trading decisions of the UK. Could the Department of Trade take up a new hobby like..erm..self-mutilation? Should sound good to them and fun.

  26. Not cricket
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    BBC “Australia captain Steve Smith has been banned for one match and fined his entire match fee by the ICC for his part in a ball-tampering incident in the third Test against South Africa.”
    Do we really have to play cricket with Australia again? In football terms it is a little bit more serious than inadvertent “hand-ball!” and far worse given the planning aspect the infamous “Hand of God “

    • hefner
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I agree, by not playing cricket anymore with Australia, and for that matter NZ, RSA, Pakistan and India, and deciding to play now some national teams from the EU countries, we might greatly further our chances of winning, and of getting back to the spot where Destiny has always wanted to put us: the First.

      • Not cricket
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        I am not going to enter your name in my black book under “Patriots”

        • hefner
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Well, maybe I am with Samuel (not Boris) Johnson on this one, his pronouncement on 7/4/1775.

  27. Rien Huizer
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you must be misinformed about the EU/US car trade. EU exports to the US about 850K units. European (German) firms built about the same number of cars in the US of which they export some 60%. In simple mercantilist terms the unit US deficit of some 400K (the vaule numbers can be highly misleading due to transfer pricing) is sizable but not alarming. Furthermore, without the ERuropean brands there would not be too much US car exports to Europe..

    Incidentally, the brand that would suffer most from punitive US tariffs would be Tata’s Jaguar/ Landrover, with 115K units sold in the US, its largest export market. All built in the UK.

    Reply Thats why I dont want the EU handling our trade relations with the Us

    • libertarian
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Rien

      Handelsblatt Global

      @HandelsblattGE

      German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier is willing to lower EU import tariffs on US cars to appease Donald Trump and prevent a trade war, @Handelsblatt has learned. A German think tank also sides with the US President

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    “It is difficult to see the EU as a paragon of free trade … ”

    Well, if you read the EU treaties and take it all at face value then you would conclude that BY ITS OWN LAW the EU is indeed required to be a paragon of free trade.

    A list of relevant treaty provisions was given here:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/08/30/mr-draghi-wants-more-free-trade-so-why-not-accept-the-uk-offer/#comment-886295

    But that’s only words, as we see in practice the EU will invent various specious reasons why it cannot possibly continue with the existing free and frictionless trade with the UK once the UK has escaped its political and legal grasp.

    Just take that mere £2.4 billion of goods which trickle across the Irish land border from Northern Ireland into the Republic each year.

    With the UK in the EU, and therefore in the EU Customs Union and more importantly in the EU Single Market, the EU has deemed it acceptable – indeed has made it mandatory – for those goods to cross the border without any checks at all for 25 years now.

    But once the UK had left the EU and its Single Market the same volume of identical goods would instantly become an existentially serious threat for the EU, which would of course be compelled to take steps to protect itself.

    That is unless the UK agreed to maintain an alternative UK law to subject the whole of the country and its £2 trillion economy to all EU Single Market regulations.

    Not a law to guarantee that just the goods crossing the border would continue to conform to EU Single Market regulations, but so that the whole of the UK economy, a thousand times greater in value, would still be subject to all EU Single Market rules.

    This is the kind of utter nonsense we get from the EU, with the support of some quisling elements of our own political class and general population.

    • acorn
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      I will say it again for the umpteenth time on this site.

      The UK is voluntarily leaving the EU Club.

      The EU is not throwing the UK out of the EU Club.

      Leaving by Article 50, does not bequeath anything tangible to the leaving Member State, other than what the EU condescends to allow in the Art 50 Withdrawal Agreement. The latter does not have to make any promises about a future relationship with the EU. It could simply refer to the Article 49 process for a new member application.

      The EU Club makes its own rules. If the UK does not like them, then as far as the EU Club is concerned, the UK can stick them where the Sun don’t shine.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Yet EU treaties state they must form friendly relationships with neighbouring nations.
        Your last statement makes me feel it is the kind of club I wouldn’t like to join.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Leaving after our leader (the second largest contributer in the EU – the largest if military commitment is included) asked for modest concesssions on pain of a referendum but was treated with contempt.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        What a very silly comment, acorn. The UK’s departure from the EU in no way alters the ostensible treaty commitment of the EU and all of its other member states to the promotion of free trade.

        Or do you think that when, for example, Article 32 TFEU says:

        “In carrying out the tasks entrusted to it under this chapter the Commission shall be guided by:

        (a) the need to promote trade between Member States and third countries”

        that really means that the Commission should go out of its way to try to impede the existing trade with the UK because it will be a third country which has chosen to leave the EU?

        • mancunius
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Not to mention the clause in the Treaty of Lisbon in which the EU pledges itself to active, peaceful cooperation with all its neighbouring ccountries.

        • acorn
          Posted March 28, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

          Already covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The UK could start the North West Europe branch. Look it up.

  29. Billy Elliot
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    So you guys truly believe that once we out of EU we are able to make lucrative free trade deals? A middle sized country – if it does not break in pieces creating few midget states – able to strike better deals than the richest trading block in the whole world?

    My God you truly are heads high in cocoo land!

    • juter
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      A trading block that strikes deals that work well for France & Germany and not us. Many of our ‘midget’ states are still much larger than many member states.

      • Billy Elliot
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        Yeah but you can kiss permanent membership in UN security council goodbye for example. Falklands and Gibraltar are too tough to even mention. But on the other hand you might have a good holiday in the island of united Republic of Ireland. Enjoy!

        • mancunius
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          Three false premises in one brief comment – must be a record.

    • Willy Elliot
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Billy Elliot. Can’t you understand even for a moment that if I wish to trade you an apple for a pear I do not expect nor wish you to control what else I do, what I trade and with whom? Nor do I expect or wish to give you money in addition to the apple. just so I can have your pear? You can stick your pear!! We are LEAVING!

  30. Derek
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    It is frightening that the Establishment figures would ignore their own clear hypocrisy. This has to be the epitome of their arrogance.
    Mr Trump is doing now, what should have been done by his predecessors, decades ago. Balancing the Trade deficit the USA has with the Rest of the World.
    Last year, the US had a Global Trade Deficit totalling $566 Billions but! Even worse, a huge $810 deficit in Products alone. Around 50% of this was attributed to just China and the EU. The largest imbalances were in the categories: Autos, Petroleum and Cell Phones.
    So large the sum, it would appear the Americans are funding the National budgets of these super-powers.
    Furthermore, the USA are the World’s largest contributors to both the UN and to NATO. Too many other World powers fail to make their own full contributions but are happy to let the Americans take up their calculated shortfalls.

    Given the facts, how can the Western ‘Establishment’ or the Chinese or the EU complain that the Americans now have a champion who WILL definitely get the American Tax Payers a better deal?
    For these beneficiaries have had it too good for too long and this is not trade war, unless they start it, but more long-overdue pay-back time.

    • hefner
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Derek, You seem to have forgotten (or do not know about) the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944 when the US$ was selected/imposed as a new world reserve, making subsequently all energy (and a lot of other) exchanges done in the American currency. Among other things, this had the effect of allowing the USA to start creating the debt you are talking about. This and the Euro-dollars saga are as much (if not more) important to explain the US debt problem. If China now has some trillions of US debt in its coffers, it is because generations of Americans have been told that they could consume without restriction and without bothering about a debt in their own currency.
      If anything you can consult Wikipedia!

      • Derek
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Of course I am aware of that Agreement.
        I am also aware that it was not a unilateral decision by the USA but that of 44 Allied Nations. The failure of it was that power was handed to the Fed and the newly created IMF – not to the people and their National representatives.
        I know of no POTUS who has sought to dismantle that system nor any other world leader who has proclaimed an alternative. Until now. Had we remained on the Gold standard, growth would have been severely restricted during the 20th century BUT”!! so would have Inflation. And their lay the bigger problem.

        So I would suggest that the real culprit here, to account for the massive borrowings and thanks to Tricky Dicky in 1971, was the removal of the Gold Standard and not Bretton Woods, which contractually aligned all major currencies to its value.
        After Nixon allowed the Fed free reign on the USD , the rest of the world followed their lead and ran their printing presses on full power.

    • hefner
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      … and the end of the BWA under Nixon in August 1971 also played its part …

  31. Chris
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    My comment about an exceptionally well researched article on President Trump and his trade policy and what he is up against in terms of the “globalists” has apparently been dismissed. It was an article with a wealth of information about Trump’s trade policy and is critical to a true understanding of US trade policy. What is the point of apparently blocking this? It is a highly reputable US website (Last Refuge) based on conservative principles.

    Reply I have not had time to check it out. I invite people to express their own views here. I am not trying to run a library of other websites.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      But you allow Facts4EU ?

  32. Peter
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Free trade is not all it is cracked up to be. I prefer Pat Buchanan’s economic nationalism approach.

    As he points out, free trade allowed the USA to steal a march on the UK at the end of the nineteenth century. US was happy to export into a free trade nation but still chose to protected its national I dustries with tariffs.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Free trade is not an unalloyed good, and where there are net benefits to anybody other than those directly involved in the trade they tend to be exaggerated.

      As one instance:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/11/26/the-irish-border-with-northern-ireland/#comment-903362

      “… CETA is actually of very marginal economic significance for the UK and the other EU countries … enhancement of their collective GDP might be only 0.03% … on the UK government’s numbers it would be a 0.07% gain in our GDP.”

      “… “Canada is estimated to see increases … from 0.18% to 0.36%” … the deal would have lifted Canada’s overall economic output in 2015 by 0.4 per cent … ”

      “Of course we are not Canada … but it seems to me that we would need to think very hard about whether that kind of trivial GDP enhancement over trading just on WTO terms would be worth the hassle of negotiating a deal with the intransigent, vindictive, obstructive, untrustworthy EU.”

  33. ian
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Here, here, Mr Redwood sir.

  34. spring is sprung
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Just watched Tale of 2 Cities 195? YouTube with the beautiful Dirk /Sydney
    So utterly powerful and sad. What a man.

  35. hans chr iversen
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    it is nonsense to say there is impediment for us to produce what we like in farming from teh EU, but it a competitive market is of course should be competitive

  36. Ron Olden
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    This contradiction between EU fanatics’ view of ‘Free Trade’ with EU, and ‘Free Trade’ with the rest of the world is one of the least savoury aspects of their mindset.

    I voted ‘Leave’ largely because I want more Free Trade not less. The Trade we have with the EU, especially in food, is not ‘Free Trade’.

    Trade in food for example, is less ‘free’ than it was before we joined. The EU protectionist cartel it’s a regulated, rigged subsidised and taxed market which works against consumers and the food processing industry over the entire EU, including the UK, and against UK farmers in particular.

    And for good measure it bans us from having real ‘Free Trade’ withe everyone else. So we get the worst of all worlds.

    But ask people like Nick Clegg and Tim Farron for their views on things like this, and they’ll just say the first thing that comes into their heads, as long as they think it supports their political objective of staying in the EU, and assume we’ll believe anything.

    I remember a news day in 2017 when Nick Clegg was trying to make out, that food prices will rise when we Leave the EU, because of Tariffs. Nick always appears to assume we will be legally obliged, or sufficiently stupid, to apply the maximum possible WTO Tariff on everything.

    But simultaneously on the day I read his remarks, Tim Farron was complaining that Free Trade with New Zealand would mean that lamb prices would be too low for lamb farmers in Westmorland and Cumbria to make so much profit.

    My view is, and always has been, that these people are not ‘Free Traders’, they are Socialist Protectionists, but that they, like the idea of the ‘Little EU’ and its’ Protectionist Customs Union Cartel, because they think there’s safety in numbers. and it enables them to disguise their real attitudes.

    The hypocrisy however goes even further than that.

    Last week the SNP was complaining that Scottish Fishermen would have to wait an extra 21 months for the UK to acquire sole control of North Sea waters, whereas they simultaneously campaign for us to NEVER regain control of them at all.

  37. Stred
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    On Marr yesterday David Davis said that the infrastructure on the Irish border would not be in place by the end of the transition and that the chancellor had saved the money. In that case the EU will not agree that trade will pass freely unless the UK follows EU law. We will have Brino permanently. At least he wasn’t chuckling.

  38. libertarian
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Dear Newmania Andy Hans Rein etc

    Please note

    London remains the top city in the world for financial services despite a widespread scaremongering from remainers who claimed its prowess would be diminished post-Brexit. London leads this year’s Z/Yen global financial centres index and is the only European city in the top 15 of 110 listed. Frankfurt, widely tipped as a beneficiary of a ‘Brexodus’, fell nine places. The index draws on 103 data points provided by global organisations and a survey of 2300 financial professionals. They rated London as having the most competitive business environment, a better reputation than any of its rivals, and the best financial infrastructure.

    You can only carry on being wrong for so long

  39. Peter Parsons
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    The tariffs on cars quoted in this article are the respective WTO schedule tariffs lodged with the WTO by the USA and the EU respectively. Both are fully compliant with WTO rules and no rules have been broken.

    However, the example of the attempted 300% tariffs on Bombardier shows that Trump doesn’t see following agreed rules as the thing to do.

  40. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    We have neither the land mass of France, the industrial integration of Germany, nor the climate of southern Europe to take advantage of our production costs for hardware and agriculture. All protected against our benefit.
    We have creative minds and the largest financial service hub in the world. Neither is freely tradable within the EU single market.
    Brexit plays to our strength s.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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