Trade wars

There is a new misleading Remain argument around at last. They have seized on Mr Trump’s push back against China and are claiming this means the UK will become dependent on the WTO just at the point where the USA is undermining the world trading system.

This is another spectacular misunderstanding. Mr Trump is pushing hard bilaterally, and has already secured some relaxations of trade from China as a result of his actions. The USA and China remain members of the WTO and have to put their actions into a WTO legal framework. Mr Trump has so far bypassed WTO just over steel and aluminium, by claiming national security, but is pushing other changes through the usual WTO processes. There is no question of the USA leaving the WTO. B0th the EU and the UK will continue to be governed by WTO rules after we have left the EU. The aim of Mr Trump is to end up with more access to China’s markets, as he draws attention to the lack of symmetry between China’s access to the USA and US access to China. It is highly likely he will secure more access, and thanks to WTO rules that will help us as well as the USA. Whatever China offers the USA she will have to offer the other WTO members.

The EU is now trying to exploit this argument  as well. They are telling us that the UK with just 2.5% of world trade will not be as influential in the WTO as the EU with  13% of world trade after the departure of the UK. This too is a misunderstanding of how the WTO works. Small countries as well as large countries are looked after and helped by the WTO as long as they are pushing for freer trade. The WTO looks forward to the UK getting its vote and voice back in the WTO as the UK will be an important voice for freer trade worldwide, and will be seeking bilateral free trade agreements with countries that do not have them with the EU.

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114 Comments

  1. Richard1
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Interesting to hear Ken Clarke on the radio yesterday describe many of George Osborne’s claims in the referendum as absurd. Those over the threat to trade were some of the most absurd.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Odd. I don’t remember Ken Clarke telling us they were absurd during the referendum campaign.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but for once Ken Clarke is actually right (no doubt he will claim he was never very keen on the EURO or the ERM soon too).

        Osborne’s huge over taxation and over complex taxation policy was totally absurd as well, (alas made even worse since by the dire Philip Hammond). As was Osborne’s general lets piss some more tax payers money down the drain on HS2, more green crap and other lunacies agenda while robbing private pensions pots and ratting on his IHT promise. This merely deters the wealthy from living and investing in the UK damaging the economy, jobs and growth hugely.

        • rose
          Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          He has also pointed out recently that our borders are out of control. He gave a figure for illegal immigration of up to a million, with tens of thousands being added each year. He always used to be so laid back about that kind of thing, and scoff at anyone who wasn’t.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      And these are people who should be supporting the government. How do we ever get back to a disciplined situation in the Conservative Party, where the herd all back the government’s stated manifesto policies?
      A split party is a dead in the water party.

    • Ghost of JB
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      It would have led to a more serious and satisfactory debate on the merits and demerits of BREXIT if Ken Clarke had had the moral leadership and integrity to say as much during the referendum campaign.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Ghost of JB

        A Politician with “moral leadership and integrity” is an oxymoron*…Ken Clark is a case in point!

        The vast majority of Politicians sway with the political wind…..their income is dependent on it!

        * though I would not include John Redwood in this comment.

  2. Mark B
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    One voice, one vote. That is what we will have if we leave the EU in its entirety. Currently the UK has only 1/28th of one vote. It has to negotiate with 27 other, often competing countries, in the EU.

    What concerns me most is that the EU will use Regulatory Alignment and the Customs Union to force the UK to vote with it. This joined at the hip situation needs to be avoided.

    Finally. Once out of the EU the government will have to work on reign in the Civil Service. Trips to the continent and especially the EU needs to be curtailed and only allowed once Ministerial approval has been obtained.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Mrs May’s policy management appears to have the directional consistency of a puddle of water; merely following the path of least resistance. Fortunately there appears a strong a logical push back by the band of Brexiteers, which if coupled with a possible leadership challenge should see us moving in the right direction.
      My question is again, are we going to be ready on 30-03-19 for WTO terms of trade with the EU?
      We will at least have save well over 40 billion to ease the transition. Coupled with a VAT tax cut and other improvements; that’s looking increasingly attractive?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Agreed…

      “Currently the UK has only 1/28th of one vote”

      And our contribution to the EU budget is 12-16%?

      Doesn’t add up.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Know-Dice

        Thanks, but I d not like mixing those two up. What is important to know about the money we give the EU to give to countries like Poland is, it is a form of subsidy. Where before an independent country with no subsidy would have to raise the money via taxation and other means to spend on infrastructure and the like, they do not. So their country and its citizens are given an unfair advantage. And I am suppose to be thankful for that ?

    • stred
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      The emails of top civil servants should be checked if we ever are allowed to actually leave. Any collaboration with EU opposite numbers in the plan to reverse Brexit should be treated as acting as an agent for a foreign state, with similar punishment.

      • Andy
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        The emails will be checked. When Brexit goes wrong the inevitable public inquiry will see all the emails and correspondence civil servants are diligently keeping. It’ll be former ministers who are held to account.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. That is why I said what I said. Their collective leashes need pulling in.

  3. Eh?
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    The EU is not trying to interfere in our local elections?

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Interferrence is their middle name – I suspect they have involved themselves countless times in our elections to get the result they wanted…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, but usually the EU are so inept and disliked that it moves things the opposite way to the way they desired.

  4. Original Richard
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The UK’s EU supporters make the false claim that the large size of the EU means that it is easier to make trade deals.

    In fact the reverse is the case as can be seen by the fact that it has taken so long for the EU to agree deals with Japan and Canada (still to be implemented). It is perfectly obvious that the more countries there are in the EU and consequently the more different interests which need to be satisfied, the more difficult it is to come to a deal.

    Bilateral agreements between willing individual nations are far more quickly and easily agreed.

    It will also be perfectly obvious that any trade deal we make as a separate country is far more likely to be beneficial for us than one negotiated by the EU for the benefit of German carmakers and French farmers.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      It takes so long because there are often competing voices within the EU 28. The EU before it starts negotiating, needs to have a ‘common position’. Look at what happened with regards to the Canada deal ?

  5. Nig l
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Surely only if we leave the customs union and this looks in trouble if press speculation is to be believed.

  6. Bryan Harris
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:25 am | Permalink


    It would be interesting to have these remoaners taken to court for their lies – It’s about time the truth was made fashionable again.

    • eeyore
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Lies are not illegal, thank heavens. But if you could persuade a court that Remainer predictions are in the nature of fortune telling, palmistry, tarot reading or fraudulent mediumship, an action might possibly be brought under the Witchcraft Act 1735.

      As that Act was repealed in England and Wales in 1951 you would have to seek a hearing in Northern Ireland. Good luck.

      • stred
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Lies seem to be illegal, according to the Advertising Standards Authority, even on the internet. However, they seem to be selective and do not mind electric car manufacturers claiming that their vehicles are ‘zero emission’ when as much CO2 is produced as by n efficient ICE car and 60% of the particulates are from brakes and tyres. Quangos are paid by governments and would never object to lies about Brexit. The same goes for double standards over funding.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Perhaps extend this also to the great climate alarmist scam and all the people who have fiddled the temperature records or are pushing this pseudoscience/religion. It is clearly a fraud against the tax payer. Perhaps put Cameron on trial for pretending to be a Cast Iron EU skeptic & “low tax at heart” Conservative and Osborne and Hammond for failing to deliver the £1 million IHT threshold each that was promised.

      Soon perhaps T May for failing to deliver a real Brexit and pretending to be a Conservative?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        Should Corbyn ever get into power (and May and Hammond seem to be doing their very best to help him), he will have to break almost all his fraudulent promises as he would run out of money in weeks.

        • Mark B
          Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          Like the one to pay all university fees 😉

    • bigneil
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      If you are taking people to court for their lies then I can think of several PMs and lots of MPs who would be behind bars. These are the only jobs where getting the job relies on swaying the voters to believe in what you are saying, then when the polling stations close, rip the manifesto up, laugh your head off, and still get paid for lying.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Absolutely, and one reason we have lost faith in politicians …… ‘Lies in public life’ should be enough to have people barred from Westminster

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        I will issue Article 50 letter on the day following the referendum comes to mind, and is the moment this betrayal began.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          Captain abandons ship, total and utter contempt for the voters from the man.

          The sad thing is he had two sitting duck elections and good presentation skills for a PM. All he had to do was to be the Cast Iron, Eurosceptic, Low tax at heart Conservative that he fraudulently pretended to be. He should have rejected the thin gruel he was offered and left. He would now be a hero.

          But he was just another leader with broken compass who abandoned ship, pathetic! Windrush May seem to be even worse if that is possible. She does not even understand what a Manifesto needs to do or what vision is.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Much truth in that. Can such a system really be called a democracy voting once every five years for people, on the basis of a manifesto that is nearly always a pack of lies.

        In the case of the Tories usually promising lower taxes, law and order, economic competence and better public services yet delivering much higher taxes, much more regulation, more green crap energy and far worse public services in every direction.

  7. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    What was that about fake news? Seems to me that remainders thrive on it.

    • stred
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Mrs May takes the fake line and bends her views with the piety of a vicar. Her ability to deceive the faithful in the party is remarkable. Even my bird has taken a year to realize that she says one thing an always does another.

      • rose
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        My bloke has taken some time to notice too.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    “They are telling us that the UK with just 2.5% of world trade will not be as influential in the WTO as the EU with 13% of world trade after the departure of the UK.”

    2.5% of influence looks better than 1/28 of 13% of influence.

    • NickC
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Greenland and Algeria have both left the EU (EEC) in 1985 and 1962 respectively. They are a lot smaller than us.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

        NickC

        Kindly inform me when Algeria became part of the EEC?

        • libertarian
          Posted April 25, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          hans christian ivers

          Oh dear and you a dedicated EUphile too

          French Algeria, The Mediterranean coast of Algeria was considered an integral part of France and became part of the EEC along with France in 1957. However, after Algeria received independence from France in 1962, it left the EEC.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      That works out just over 0.42% per country. Less than half we would get on our own. And for less cash.

  9. JimS
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    What a coincidence that the BBC has just put out an In Business programme trashing the WTO!

    It can’t be long before it will ‘threaten’ us with moving their London/Salford staff to Brussels (or will it be Frankfurt?).

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      JimS

      Now I like that idea…. we sell the EU the BBC… or give it in exchange for our freedom.

      The BBC is an EU style mouthpiece, and we certainly do not need it.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      JimS

      Can we start a “crowdfunding” exercise to achieve this?….though Cologne is where the BBC equivalent Media stations sit?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      And now apparently we aren’t in debt any longer according to The World at One headlines. Whoopee!

  10. agricola
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    The EU by blocking, via tariffs, trade in goods that offer serious competition to their own producers is in effect conducting a trade war. Particularly obvious in the import of food. Mr. Trump is I think trying to establish balance and fairness in US trade with China. China also needs to respect patent rights before they can be considered a normal and acceptable trading nation.

  11. Ian wragg
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Everything and anything will be used to justify keeping us in the Customs Union and single market. The crunch is coming and the pressure will be enormous to try and keep us in line.
    May should make a vote against the Customs Union a confidence issue and smoke out the Quislings .Trump unlike our government is putting the American people first unlike our limp wristed rulers.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The arch remoaners call it populism not patriotism! Yet what confounds me is how the creation of a bigger superstate isn’t populism eventually??!

  12. Adam
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Trading in a market open to the world enables all buyers & sellers to reach their best commercial transactions.

  13. formula57
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    There seems no limit to Remoaner/Quisling disinformation, but why should that be expected when it seems so successful in pushing Mrs. Weak & Vacillating off course?

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    “There is a new misleading Remain argument around at last.”

    Why “at last”, JR? They have been and they still are constantly fabricating and disseminating new misleading arguments, and have absolutely no scruples about doing so in what they see as the higher cause of European political union. Just look at some of the nonsense parroted by the pro-EU trolls which infest this very blog!

    • Mark B
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Denis

      Said Trolls are entitled to post if they wish. Just as I am entitled to not read their rubbish and comment on it.

      Not one of these so called Europhiles / Eurolovers / Remainers can answer a simple question.

      Name one thing the EU can do for the 28 Member Countries that no other non-EU sovereign country (eg USA) cannot do for itself ?

      The EU was an idea created by two Civil Servants (quelle surprise) 100 years ago. The world has changed, the stupid idea of a EU has not.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure how and to what extent we want to be influential in the WTO, but in that or any other international forum it must surely be better to speak for ourselves and say what we want rather than have the EU speak for us and say things we don’t particularly want.

    It is not as though we are a minor world power; of course we are no longer a foremost power but we are still high in the second rank, contrary to the deliberately misleading impression that quisling Remoaners try to convey. If you listen to those liars you would think that we have declined to a status comparable to some small nation on a Pacific island.

  16. alan jutson
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    No surprise that those who wish to remain are always negative about the leave position, but can never make any positive points about our future for Remain.

    A poor salesperson (I hate that word) will always use the tactic of knocking their competitors product, and have absolutely nothing positive to say about their own, because they know its inferior.

  17. JM
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    By the way, if the Government sells us down the river on the customs union, the damage done to the credibility of the Conservative Party and its ability to win elections will be greater than that done by the Black Wednesday fiasco.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      If we are sold down river, then that will be the end of the Tory party, asis – I suspect it would break the party up into two sections…and people would be hard pressed to vote Tory ever again.
      There are already a dozen reason why people feel the EU negotiations have let us down… far too many give-aways – The only way the Tories will survive is to break away without any deals….A hard BREXIT as some call it.

    • NickC
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Mrs May’s government has already sold us down the river on the money, fishing rights, a non-transition, and (probably) Northern Ireland. The CU is just one more salami slice.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        She will be allowed to win this argument and claim a faux victory. But the UK Government will shadow the EU CU on the quiet.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      JM

      Black Wednesday was a wakeup called in many ways. The first lesson learned is that the UK’s so-called European friends can disappear in a heartbeat if these friends have to spend their own money?

      Least we forget our so-called chums in Europe…..when the chips are down nations will stick to their own interest above all else! This is the singular unspoken truth of the EU and the root to its future demise…..hence the EU’s frenzied push to integrate further each nation-state before they wise up?

      ERM fiasco

      The ERM demanded that currencies stayed within a band set in relation to other currencies in the club. To maintain the currency values relative to each other, countries with the most valuable currencies had to sell their own and buy the weakest. At the time the Deutschmark was the most powerful currency and sterling the weakest within its band.

      The Bank of England was furiously buying sterling but little was done by the Bundesbank to sell Deutschmarks.

      Jim Trott, former chief dealer for the Bank of England: “The cavalry were the Bundesbank. We kept on looking over the hill, but there was no dust and there were no hats and no sabres. And then later at the conference call they suddenly didn’t speak English, which was extraordinary. So we were kind of stretched on that day,” he said, years later. Treasury papers would be later released showing the cost to be an estimated £3.3bn. A high price indeed for Government gross incompetence!

      In conclusion: Who needs friends like these in Europe?

      • Mark B
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 4:51 am | Permalink

        A high price indeed for Government gross incompetence!

        The true cost can never be measured in pounds Sterling. It finished the Tory party for over a decade and allowed a Labour government in whose policies have caused even more harm to this nation and its people.

      • mike fowle
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Dennis, absolutely right. I had been a fervent Europhile until Black Wednesday, then it was as if the ground shifted under my feet. All the comfortable assumptions I had made were rendered null and void. Although it was Maastricht that turned me into an out and out Eurosceptic.

  18. Tasman
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    To want to leave the EU in favour of the WTO while claiming to be in favour of free trade is as absurd an idea as has ever been advanced. WTO requires border checks, EU bans border checks. WTO allows tariffs, EU bans tariffs. WTO allows non tariff barriers, EU forces mutual recognition. To leave the EU is to throw away free trade!

    Reply The EU requires us to impose tariffs and other barriers on all our trade with the rest of the world!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      “WTO requires border checks”

      Come on then, give us the chapter and verse to support that assertion.

      • WA Laugh
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        Well, all the relevant information is available on wto.org.
        Look for WTO Trade topics, then look for Goods, Services or Intellectual Property. Choose your favorite topics and dive on the various articles, usually three or four scores of them. For what is of interest to me, INtellectual Property, it is dealt within the framework of the TRIPS agreement and the Special Requirements related to Border Measures are defined between articles 50 and 58.
        I find both sides of the arguments (eg, Tasman vs Denis Cooper) equally tiring, and JR’s management of the question equally poor. There are a plethora of texts, some not so obvious to understand what they actually mean, and the bandying of EU vs WTO the way it is done on this blog is rather ridiculous, a little game to be played by people with nothing much more interesting to do!

    • NickC
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Tasman, It is you who is being absurd – the WTO was set up specifically to encourage and police free trade. The WTO “requires” none of the items on your list. All the WTO requires is equal treatment. Moreover the EU is precisely not built on “mutual recognition”. The EU is a centralist, top-down organisation which specifically opposes mutual recognition; and has done since at least Mrs Thatcher’s Bruges speech in 1988.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      I get really annoyed when people describe the EU as a free trade block.
      We pay circa £10 billions net which is about a 7% tax on all our EU exports and we only have a single market in goods not services which hugely benefits France and Germany.
      We also have to accept freedom of movement and superior ECJ rullings.
      Nothing free about that.

    • zorro
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense- the EU is a protectionist customs union which imposes high taxes on imports from outside the EU. We actually collect duties for the EU when we could have the same goods a lot cheaper if we were able to decide whether to impose a tariff and at what level!!

      zorro

    • acorn
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      All the nonsense Hannan, Redwood And Mogg have spoken about the customs union this week (Google it, sorry, couldn’t resist the temptation and thanks for the alert *****)

      • libertarian
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        acorn

        As someone who can’t tell the difference between South Koreans and French and millions and billions you dont have much credibility , so Id go with if you think its nonsense there must be something good about it.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Tasman

      Its astonishing how many remainers have no idea how the EU works. I guess its because you’ve never actually tried setting up a business and trading

      • Edward2
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Well said Libertarian
        I find nearly every remain supporter lives off the state in one way or another and has never run a small or medium sized business.

  19. English Pensioner
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The Remoaners will try to latch onto anything in the news that they can twist to support their case. I’m surprised that they haven’t brought the new Royal baby into the argument somehow, perhaps he wouldn’t be able to have the Spanish nanny unless we remain!

    • Andy
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Ironic – seeing that it is Brexiteers sending the Royal family round the world in the vain hope it’ll get some trade deals.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Which they have done very sucessfully for decades Andy.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Andy

        ………………. The Royal Family’s main job is drumming up overseas trade. The Commonwealth is far far bigger than 27 EU countries and is growing far faster. Much better deal

        Sacked your staff yet?

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      You must have given Peston the idea English Pensioner, he brought the Royal babies name into the remainer argument today hehe.

  20. Epikouros
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The path to world peace and prosperity is through free trade.That is trade that does not have any form of governance by treaty, tariffs(WTO or otherwise), trading blocs and rules and regulations. There absolutely no need of any of them as all they do is protect producers who will go to great lengths to have those things in place. They care not for consumers who lose out considerably by not having unhindered access to the best quality and priced goods and and services wherever in the world they are produced. It universally accepted that protectionism is socially necessary as it protects jobs and economically because of balance of payments deficits are fearful. Both beliefs are fallacious they are very simplistic views that a deeper understanding of the true nature of the consequences of protectionism would quickly dispel as being more mythical than real.

    • Epikouros
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I have just come across this quotation by Milton Freeman(1990). “While 19th-century Britain is an excellent test of unilateral free trade, it is not “the best,” since critics maintain that Britain’s superpower status at the time enabled it to impose its policy on other countries. Modern-day Hong Kong is a better test – a small Island and peninsula with few resources and no independent political power, yet unilateral free trade enabled it to achieve an even higher rate of growth in per-capita real income than its fellow little Tigers, Singapore and Taiwan, despite more rapid growth in population.”

      • robert lewy
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        “Friedman” not “Freeman”

        He merits correct spelling at the very least

        • Epikouros
          Posted April 25, 2018 at 5:18 am | Permalink

          I cannot argue with that. My apologies to Mr Friedman no disrespect was intended.

  21. rose
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    More fake news from Trump-deranged Jon Sopel this morning who referred to “the Protectionist American President and the Free Trade French President.”

    What does he think the Internal Market, CAP, and Customs Union do? What does he think France does to protect its national interests within those arrangements? What does he think we are going through at the moment, to try and procure civilized free trade with our nearest neighbours? Just how influential does he think the French President is within the EU, and if he is, why the difficulties and obstructions?

    • NickC
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Rose, You can’t expect sense from Remain.

    • Chris
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Agree, Rose.
      Sopel and many of the BBC commentators are beyond the pale, in my view. In addition to the disgraceful bias they show against President Trump, they also display a woeful ignorance about matters they should have researched thoroughly.
      Presumably that is what they are paid for.

      • Mitchel
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        I think Sopel took it personally when at that infamous early press conference(CNN -“You are fake news”),Sopel introduced himself as from the BBC and got the muttered response:”there’s another beauty”!

    • zorro
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I am sure that I am not the only one to find his reporting style more than slightly irritating….. a lot more in fact.

      zorro

  22. nigelR
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The Customs Union only concerns goods traded as far as I know and that accounts for 20% of our trade with them the other 80% is made up of services so whatever it takes that sector should be looked after because it also includes for banking, financials, insurance etc.

    And despite what our host puts out here, as always, the big debate about our situation is not taking place in Brussels at all but in London within Mrs May’s Cabinet where all of the agonising is going on. The line put out by some that the EU is somehow out to do us down, or to keep us where we don’t want to be is a big lie, a fake news. Truth is most of the EU players would only be too happy to see the back of us at this stage. ‘Get it’?

  23. stred
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    It seems that Napoleon is buddying up to Donald on the international front too, telling him that US and French troops need to keep the Iranians out of Syria. He knows more about who is doing what in the civil war than we do these days. Some people think it’s because he wants France to buy Sunni oil from Sunni pipelines instead of Shiite oil from Shiite pipelines, or is it a combination of the two?

    Next time Donald is doing best buddies with the On Marche boy he should ask him to tell the EU to charge the same tariff on American cars as they do on European cars. Then bring in some Coq au Vin a la Eau Chlorine’ for dinner.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 25, 2018 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      It is about arms sales to SA and other Gulf States.

    • rose
      Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t Napoleon want to put a gas pipeline across Syria, and isn’t Assad preventing him? Assad is loyal to Gazprom.

  24. Dunedin
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Mr Trump’s style is to start negotiations by demanding way more than he may hope to achieve. Our Brexit negotiators should try this tactic with the EU.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, the Brussels regime is the one one demanding more than they could reasonably hope to achieve and it is the Tory government which continually concedes exactly that.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Oh, and here is the UK law to approve the Single European Act:

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/58/contents

    Without that Act the UK could not have ratified the new treaty, and so it could not have come into force, and so the EU Single Market could not have come into being, and so it would not have been possible to remove all controls on the EU’s internal border including those on the Irish border.

    Logically the present “frictionless” movement of goods across that border in both directions became possible because the UK (and all the other EU member states) passed the requisite Single Market laws, and the EU trusted the UK to enforce its laws to a sufficiently high standard.

    The question is whether it is possible to conceive of any alternative UK legal device which could afford the same degree of protection to the EU Single Market after the UK has left the EU, so still obviating any need for the Irish authorities to intercept and inspect goods as they cross the border from Northern Ireland, and the answer to that must be “Yes, there could be other ways to do it”.

    For example, if the EU says that it doesn’t want US-style “chlorinated chicken” to enter its territory then the UK can pass and enforce a law to prohibit the export of that product from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic.

    At present UK law prohibits the importation of “chlorinated chicken” from the US, but in the future UK law could just as well prohibit its exportation to the EU.

  26. John Payne
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    One important aspect the EU overlooks. It is not a Country. It is a cooperative of Countries in trade terms. It is therefore is incorrect for it to act as if is one Sovereign State.

    • NickC
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      John Payne, Oh dear, you are a little bit behind the curve. If you read the Lisbon treaty you will see that the EU does indeed think it is “one Sovereign State”.

      If the EU were merely a “cooperative of countries in trade terms” – and only that – I would not be so determined to Leave.

    • IwasGnarth
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Not yet, anyway.

  27. mancunius
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    We shall succeed if we can maintain low tariffs (or preferably Unilateral Tariff Free) trade.
    This entails means low taxation and light touch regulation. It also means the Government should be pro-actively responsive to what is going on around us. For example, the Dutch government is deliberately trying to lure companies and investors from the London Stock Exchange by abolishing dividend tax. (They cannot actually afford this move, as it will blow a hole in their budget; so they will then restore it – once they have the companies relocated in Holland.) Hammond should wake up and match the tax cut, otherwise RDSA is likely to follow the ULVR de-listing. And that will be only the start.

  28. Andy
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Brexiteers are in a major pickle – and it is rather amusing to watch. We know you don’t want to be in the EU, but then you can’t figure out what you do want.

    In today’s Sun Leave bigwig Daniel Hannan argues that we should be like Switzerland – because Switzerland is not in the EU and is not in the Customs Union.

    As a vehement Remainer I’d meet Hannan half way on that and say although Switzerland has a worse deal than we do it is better than nothing.

    He’s right – Switzerland is not in the Customs Union or the EEA. But it is in EFTA, participates in much of the single market through a series of hundreds of bilateral agreements (not for financial services though).

    Switzerland is also in Schengen, allows free movement of people and the Euro is widely accepted. So they you go. Leave bigwig Hannan says Swiss model, me a vehement Remainer says it’s less good than what we have but it’ll do.

    Sound good to you Dr Redwood?

    • Richard1
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Switzerland runs an independent trade policy, operates a much lower tax /gdp than other EU members, is independent of much EU regulation and has higher levels of prosperity as a result. The currency is not the euro it is the Swiss franc. Perhaps you can offer euros, sterling dollars Etc, but it does not have the potentially unlimited liabilities of currency union. I’d say if we end up with a Swiss type deal all parties, inc the EU, should be happy. This could in fact have been achieved through Cameron’s renegotiation had the EU shown some flexibility, and much grief avoided.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Opposition to EU membership in Switzerland is overwhelming according to all polls (likewise in Norway), Continuity Remianers should ask themselves why.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Immigration into Switzerland is tightly controlled.
      If you offer euros in London many places accept them and they accept the US dollar.
      You latch on to one person’s opinions like Hannon’s as if it is Govt policy.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Andy

      Rather than tell us what we do or dont want why not demonstrate why YOU want to stay in the EU , what does it offer that you can’t get elsewhere , better, cheaper, freer etc Go on post something in support of your arguments for a change rather than whinging, crying and throwing toddler tantrums

  29. nigel seymour
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I hope your listening to the lords EU committee John!! It ain’t good news for the leavers…

  30. Andy
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s good to know, also, that EU citizens will be able to complete the information they need to stay here post Brexit on their phones.

    Unless, of course, they have an iPhone because clearly that won’t work with a government system. But it’s good to know that a government which has done so well with other IT roles-outs – Universal Credit, NHS etc – is completely on top of this one too.

    Incidentally during her grovelling apology on the Tory Windrush scandal did anyone else notice that Amber Rudd basically said anyone who came here from the Commonwealth between 1948 and 1973 can be a British citizen and may be able to get compensation? That’s potentially a lot of people. They didn’t put that on the side of a bus.

    It is time for the public to create a hostile environment for this incompetent government – so we can get them out of office as quickly as possible. Even Corbyn can not be this unpleasant and inept.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Complete red herring
      Windrush is useless bureaucrats in action.
      There is no link to brexit.
      There is almost 100% criticism of their actions.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Macron in the USA is standing where May should be. She was a spanner tossed into the works.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      “Unless, of course, they have an iPhone because clearly that won’t work with a government system”

      What are you bleating about…. total nonsense , get a grown up to show you how

  31. VotedOut
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    On the 12-Jun-2016 David Cameron said:

    The prime minister told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that it would be impossible to copy the Norwegian model by remaining inside the trading bloc despite being outside the EU because that would mean accepting freedom of movement and trade rules made in Brussels.

    He added:

    “What the British public will be voting for is to leave the EU and leave the single market.”

    The European Union Referendum Act 2015 was passed by 544 votes to 53.

    669 days have passed since the vote on the 23-Jun-2016

    We liberated the whole of Europe in less time than it takes us to get out of the EU !

    • Georgy Llewor
      Posted April 25, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Did you liberate the whole of Europe all by yourself, without a bit of help from anybody from the Commonwealth, any tiny effort from the US, and in one way or another any pressure from the Russians who « liberated » their bit of Eastern Europe?

  32. Robbie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    For a country like the UK, with integrated supply chains depending on just in time deliveries and shipments of good with other EU countries, the WTO model is eminently unsuitable. The extra administrative burden on exporters alone has been estimated to be in the billions and major employers (like the car industry) will decamp eventually and set up in a more manufacturing friendly country.

    One only has to read the newspapers to hear polite coded warnings from Japanese firms that we already have the best [customs] deal for manufacturers and that they will stay as long as they continue to make profits. Most of them regarded free and unfettered access to the EU market as fundamental in their decision to invest in the UK.

    Bearing this in mind I can only scratch my head in sad bemusement as to why anyone would swop this situation with WTO rules….

    Reply Not true. The Japanese are currently buying one of our largest companies!

    • libertarian
      Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Robbie

      Oh dear yet another remainer who has never done a trade deal in his life…. Your post is drivel

      • Robbie
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        If you have an argument on why you think this please let us know, rather than insulting because you have no adequate response.

        On this subject let us hear the voice of the experts. The business community, represented by the CBI actually quite like being in a customs union, and have called for the govt to remain in it. Voices such as these carry more weight than semi informed amateurs like John Redwood. They also have done more trade deals than you, I would hazard a guess.

        Reply I have led two industrial groups whp successfully exported to the world from the UK

        • Robbie
          Posted April 26, 2018 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          We are obviously honoured and graced with your exalted presence then. In that case kindly answer the point rather than wallow in your own self importance.

        • a-tracy
          Posted April 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          Robbie, The CBI doesn’t represent ‘the business community’ in the UK. It represents some of the business community and has a small % of business members that pay the CBI to represent them.

          • Robbie
            Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            a-tracy, an extract from the CBI website:

            “The CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors. Together they employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of the private sector-employed workforce.

            With 13 offices around the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the British business voice around the world”

            If this is not good enough, the Institute of Directors and ADS (representing security, aerospace, space defence companies) have also come out in favour of a Customs Union with the EU.

            If the business community in the real world are in favour of the CU (as opposed to the “armchair globalists” who populate this forum), should you not be listening to them?

    • Robbie
      Posted April 26, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      I still have not received a response to this argument. I shall make it simple for you to understand.

      How does trading with WTO rules help high value manufacturing companies with integrated and complex supply chains spanning several EU countries, where components may cross frontiers several times?

      I’m looking for an answer which covers administrative costs, transit time and regulatory alignment. Bonus points will be given for a reply covering several sentences without exclamation marks and derogatory remarks. Points will be deducted for remarks indicating excessive self importance.

  33. Ron Olden
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    The EU itself allows for the same National Security rules that Trump is relying, on including is respect of Trade within its own Protectionist Customs Union.

    France has, on occasions (e.g. beef imports from the UK), violated the EU’s own Free Trade Rules when (according to France) the trade threatens ‘National Security’, and there have been number of other occasions in which other countries have been fined.

    Only last month Remainers themselves were trying to stop the UK participating in Trade by trying to get the Government prevent to prevent the shareholders in GKN selling their shares to a foreign company.

    This sort of Trade is something they regularly complain about and seek to get the UK to undermine

    Several of them were also bleating about the British Taxpayer awarding a contract to print passports to a French Company that offered to do it cheaper than it British Based one.

    Any comparison between the USA and China dispute, would see the UK filling the role of the USA, and the EU filling the role of China. The UK has a big trade deficit with the EU, just has the US has with China. So the UK has all the cards.

    This argument also reveals the belligerent manner in which Remainers see ‘Trade’ and the low value they attribute to it for it’s own sake. They think that ‘Free Trade’ is something we ‘concede’ to one another, whereas Free Trade ‘Leavers’ see it as something we all benefit from.

    It also revels the dim view they have of the EU itself and the subservient role they see us occupying, in our relations with the EU.

    They see ‘Trade’ as means of promoting economic warfare, and assume that we are at the EU’s mercy whether we are in it or out.

    But nothing can be further from the truth. How can a country with a Trade Deficit ever be in subservient position to one which sells us more than we sell them?

    We are are the customer. They are depending on us buying things from them. We can go and buy things somewhere else. Do we ever fear that the local Supermarket might stop trading with us because we are not members of some Trade Organisation of which they are members?

    It would also be violation of the Lisbon Treaty for them to fail to promote good relations with the neighbouring non EU Countries, and it would be open to any one of the Remaining 21 who lost out, to complain to the European Court of Justice if they did..

  • 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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