The argument about what kind of a relationship the UK wants and needs with the emerging centralised Eurozone should not be monopolised by arguments over our trade.
Those who say we need to stay in on current terms, or stay in on similar terms often tell us we need to do so to protect our trade. This is not true. Many countries trade successfully with the rest of the EU without being members. The rest of the EU would be as keen as the UK to ensure continuity in trade when the UK renegotiates its relationship.
Those who wrongly see the EU as just a trade and business club we need to belong to should understand that the EU is not a free trade area. They often imply it is and say that is what we want. Belonging to a free trade area with the rest of the EU would be a welcome improvement on what we have now, removing remaining tariff and subsidy barriers, expecially in areas where the EU has restrictive policies.
There are customs areas, free trade areas, and common government areas. The EU is both a customs union and a common government area. The danger of the latter is it entails the erection of substantial barriers and costs to doing business through a large legislative and regulatory programme. Worse still, all these extra costs are imposed on UK exporters to non EU destinations as well as to EU ones.
The UK could have full access to the single market on current terms, it could just belong to the customs union, or it could negotiate a free trade area with the EU. To those who think the current single market is better than relying on the international trade framework, it should be possible for the UK to belong to the single market from outside the federalist Treaties. Better still would be a new arrangement which leaves both the UK and the continental trading partners free to do as we wish, whilst preserving the trade which is in our mutual interest.
The motor industry is rightly against facing a higher tariff wall from outside the single market than they face from inside. The German industry, I am sure, will want access to the UK market on at least as good terms as it enjoys today, so there should be no great worry about this issue. There needs to be more debate explaining the crucial differences between free trade areas, customs unions and the single market. You do not need hundreds of common laws in order to trade with each other.