Trade wars

I agree with the consensus that trade wars are not helpful, and higher tariffs do impede growth and prosperity.

I do not agree with the view that the UK needs to be in an EU  tariff zone/Customs Union  in order to enjoy more of the benefits of free trade. That is an absurd contradiction of a view. The EU Customs Union imposes tariffs and barriers against the rest of the world that are  not helpful. If pro EU people agree, as they seem to do, that Trump’s new tariffs are harmful, they should also agree that the EU’s far bigger and more numerous old tariffs are also  harmful.

The irony of Mr Trump’s stance is lost on them. He is imposing tariffs to try to bash down the barriers and unfair trading practices others have imposed. His main two targets are China and Germany. There is an interpretation doing the rounds that his only target is China and some of his tariffs are therefore ill judged. Mr Trump starts with analysis of the largest trade surpluses around the world, which reside in China and Germany. Because Germany’s trade  stance is handled by the EU it leads the USA into conflict with the EU. It is true that his steel tariffs do hit the wrong people, as the USA imports little steel from China which is the main  cause of overcapacity and of subsidised or unrealistically low prices.

The US has written a report into how China has in the US view cheated with Intellectual Property and technology products. The US is currently reviewing the practises of the German car industry, to see why Germany sells so many more cars to the USA than the USA sells to Germany. Part of the reason is obvious. The EU levies a 10% tariff on US cars, but the US only levies a 2.5% tariff on German cars. I can see why the USA may wish to question that.

I look forward to the day when the UK can negotiate her own trade terms around the world. The danger of the current situation is we get dragged into an unhelpful trade war between the EU and the USA which is primarily about the huge German surplus, not about our own global trade deficit.

The UK will regain her vote and voice at the WTO. The sooner the better. This is exactly the time when an independent UK could act as a strong voice and influence for freer trade worldwide, assisting the USA where she has a good case to bring the barriers down that others have imposed, and working with those who oppose unilateral US tariffs that do not tackle the underlying problems.

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  1. Adam
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Trade is simpler, freer & fairer when the provider & consumer can exchange without busybody Govts & other organisations interfering with obstructions & other nuisance.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed governments are more like a protection racket in this area. They just looking for their cut or some excuse to inconvenience the everyone or for a job creation scheme for over paid and over pensioned bureaucrats.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        Well. As long as we’re all prepared to race to bottom on what we do for a living.

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Adam, EU Trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, said that over the past months the USA had tried to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU. Apparently the EU threatening the UK with trade restrictions to obtain concessions from us, has unaccountably passed her by.

      • Adam
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Being muddled in turmoil, Cecila Malmstrom appears not to be performing her defined responsibilities. Brexit enables our freedom to leave the Malmstrom & the EU maelstrom stuck together in their recurring mess.

  2. Lifelogic.
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Indeed exactly right.

    But when are the Tories going to replace T May and P Hammond and get some sensible leadership and vision? It clearly needs to happen very soon.

    I am not convinced that Gove is the man (as a Tory donor suggests in the Observer today). Gove is the reason we have the daft, socialist, inept, robotic remainer and total electoral liability T May in place. He even suggested VAT on school fees (when tax relief on fees or education vouchers and more private schools are clearly the direction to go) and indeed we need tax breaks for private medical insurance to help lift demand on the NHS too). Gove is also the reason we currently suffer T May after his idiotic knifing of Boris.

    Mogg is surely the man to lift the spirits and win the next election hands down, despite his odd quirky vues that he has due to his ancient belief system. He has vision and a working compass something the Tories have lacked in their leaders all my lifetime. Even Thatcher largely failed to cut the bloated inept state down to a sensible size, signed damaging EU treaties and even joined the ERM against Alan Walters sound advice.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      quirky ‘views’

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Mogg for me too. He’s intelligent, sensible and has some great views. He is also very capable of giving a good interview.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        If he stopped his silly support for religious segregation into different schools I could vote for him.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      – What exactly is Gove’s experience of business?

      He’s got lots of experience of journalism and PR but nothing in business. We need someone who has real business experience if we’re serious about doing something serious about our economy.

    • Richard
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      We need a PM who will shout from the rooftops that in fact… THE UK is the country with whom Germany has its largest trade surplus (= EUR 50Bn), USA is only 2nd !!

      We need a PM who the EU knows is prepared to walk away from a very bad deal.

  3. oldtimer
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    The world of tariffs remains topsy turvy in parts. Tariffs on car imports to the USA are indeed 2.5%.
    Yet pick up truck imports attract a 25% tariff, also known as the chicken tax from an earlier exchange of retaliatory measures lost in the mists of time. Among the EU’s current tariffs, I read that solar panel imports carry a 60% tariff to protect German manufacturers of solar panels from the Chinese! The sooner the UK can negotiate its own arrangements the better.

    • Prigger
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      A “60% tariff 60% tariff to protect German manufacturers of solar panels from the Chinese! ”
      Most of the job creation is the actual installation of solar panels. The fact that extremely cheap Chinese solar panels providing the most prime source of electricity..and Germany refuses it????? Obviously a political act as only a lunatic would refuse that, it’s like banning someone from virtually giving you money making trees. An act of War against China as the Chinese probably see it, and see it one must say for what it actually is.

    • acorn
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      The USA did the same on Solar Panels. US domestic Solar Panel installers were very impressed; not. Trump protectionism will destroy more jobs that they re-create in rust belt USA. Those naughty US citizens and corporations should be given a good smack for wanting all those better quality foreign cars and washing machines; causing all those imports.

      Tariff rate, “applied”, simple mean, all products
      EU = 1.92%; USA = 2.79%.

      Tariff rate, “most favoured nation”, simple mean, all products
      EU = 4.38%; USA = 3.66%

      Not the sort of differences worth starting a trade war for.

      • libertarian
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink


        Whilst I agree with you that protectionism is bad, hence why we need to leave the EU and the customs union.

        Its a strange fact that US unemployment at 3.8% is lowest its been for 18 years

  4. Richard1
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    There is certainly a lot of humbug from the EU given EU tariffs and other trade restrictions.
    Good article by Charles Moore in the telegraph on how Trump has the courage to look at international agreements and repudiate them if it’s clear they don’t make sense. In the case of both the Paris climate agreement and the unsatisfactory Iran deal it’s difficult to disagree with his position. I think he’ll get re-elected.

    Donald Trump has the courage and wit to look at ‘green’ hysteria and say: no deal

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      ‘Good article by Charles Moore in the telegraph on how Trump has the courage to look at international agreements and repudiate them if it’s clear they don’t make sense.’

      – It’s got nothing to do with ‘courage’ (absolute nonsense). It’s about America becoming less innovative and competitive. In other words the problem is with America – not the outside world. And Trump needs to focus on this (but he hasn’t a clue because he has zero experience of building up a large company with lots of different skills, that exports high quality brands abroad – which is precisely America’s problem right now).

      • ji
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        What business experience did Obama have?

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          I don’t know. I’m a Republican not a Democrat.

          Lots of US Republicans think Trump is bad news for America.

  5. Newmania
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I did think there might be a little shame now your great chum Trump is intent on pushing thousands of British workers out on the Street, but still waving your sycophantic pom poms I see.
    I don’t think that’s wise and your anti German remarks are nonsense.
    Germany benefits from being in a large, and variously advanced ,currency area , so does every part of the US. There is no unfairness
    The ‘unfairness’, as Trump sees it , is that a large and efficient economy , the US , is forced to trade fairly with smaller competitor countries when it should be able to push them around, better still bully them one by one which breaking up the EU would achieve . He may have a better point with China at whom this move is directed.

    Never mind eh , when we are a small helpless and isolated country in the toothless WTO we will be able to ask nicely and all will be well

    Well what could possibly go wrong with that?

    Reply I said I disagreed with trump’s steel tariffs and took a pro UK line!

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, And you are not ashamed that your pal the EU, a foreign power you want to continue controlling us, has been intent on pushing thousands of UK workers out on the street from the electricity generation, steel and aluminium industries?

    • Richard1
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Plenty of small and medium sized countries run independent trade policies. No evidence you have to be part of a protectionist bloc to enhance your trading position.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      If we’d left the EU as promised our steel workers wouldn’t be subject to Trump’s tariffs.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        “Never mind eh , when we are a small helpless and isolated country…”

        And the EU with a huge chunk missing from it.

        Why do you always ALWAYS belittle your country ?

        Can you really not see that the Brexit vote was a smack on your nose and not the EU’s ?

  6. Original Richard
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    “The US is currently reviewing the practises of the German car industry, to see why Germany sells so many more cars to the USA than the USA sells to Germany. Part of the reason is obvious. The EU levies a 10% tariff on US cars, but the US only levies a 2.5% tariff on German cars.”

    There is also the matter of the absolutely huge German diesel emissions testing fraud which gave the false impression that German engines were technically superior.

    Still to this date the EU has taken no action at all against the German car makers involved.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      The EU is Germany so they are unlikely to sanction the car manufacturers.
      They are quick off the mark to fine Britain for alleged customs infringement.
      Funny how every year we get fined under some pretext to pad out the wasteful EU.
      Here In Southern France there is a lot of sympathy for Brexit and not a good word to say about Macron and the EU.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      ‘he US is currently reviewing the practises of the German car industry, to see why Germany sells so many more cars to the USA than the USA sells to Germany’

      – How about the German car manufacturers are just meeting the demands of the car market in the US better than American car manufacturers!

      Simple as that. Instead of Trump thinking he can control the market and market demand, why not support entrepreneurs in the US more to make life as easy for them to innovate and be as competitive as possible in the car market and the high tech industry in general.

    • ChrisS
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      The EU wouldn’t dare to take any action against those car manufacturers involved in the Diesel fraud because they are German.

      If they had been British, the whole weight of the Brussels establishment would have been brought down upon them.

      Meanwhile Germany continues to break the Eurozone 3% trade surplus rule by an enormous margin every year and that goes unpunished. It’s rarely even mentioned, yet is the biggest cause of instability and the high rates of unemployment that are endemic all around the Southern countries in the Eurozone.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Correct. EU fraud is endemic and usually skewed to German advantage. Especially the currency.

  7. Peter
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Yes it is straightforward economic nationalism and ensuring that American manufacture is not handicapped by tariffs other countries avoid.

    Meanwhile Barnier has said he does not wish to negotiate with the UK. Having realised No Deal is just talk, he now wishes to punish and humiliate the UK. I imagine most of Mrs. May’s time is spent searching for a form of words to disguise and obfuscate the extent of the humiliation.

  8. Nig l
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    For the last umpteen years pro EU groups claim that being in the bloc gives us influence which we would lose if we came out. I have seen nothing to support this indeed we seem to be outvoted constantly.

    I am not suggesting we should not go the WTO route but in the interests of balance, what evidence is there that we would be any more listened to and effective?

    • Mark B
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      As I have said many times over the years, being part of the EU gives us 1/28th of one say. Being part of the WTO and all other bodies where we can act as an independent nation gives us one whole vote.

      So, thinking about it, which do you think is better my friend ?


  9. alan jutson
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Agreed, one of the largest protectionist trade area’s is the EU, the fact that they put huge tariffs on some imported goods from some under developed Countries, means they cannot trade themselves out of poverty, and still require foreign aid.

    So ironic that the EU scream protectionist Trump, but will not recognise they are just as bad if not worse.

    The EU need to be careful who they upset, otherwise the German motor industry my find itself with some overcapacity.
    Trump is not like May, he will make progress, and is not frightened to walk away and do his own thing.
    The voters like America first, and he is operating that promise, which makes a nice change for a politician.

  10. Lifelogic.
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Trade is between people and companies. Governments just get in the damn way. As Milton Friedman put it:-


    Tariffs, plus administrative and many other non tariff obstacles and barriers that is.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Great post !

  11. Andy
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, in the real world, the Sunday Times has got hold of a copy of the government’s own Brexit no deal analysis.

    Dover collapses on day one. There are food and medicine shortages within a fortnight – Brexit voting Cornwall is badly affected.

    The RAF will be required to airlift supplies to remote regions. And this is not even the worst case no deal Brexit scenario – it is one of the better ones.

    This is the advice ministers have received. They have been told the analysis of what no deal means. If they continue to listen to the economically illiterate naysayers and ignore it their behaviour becomes criminal.

    Here’s a predication. The inevitable public inquiry into the Brexit debacle will eventually up with some today Cabinet deemed responsible and punished. By that I mean prison.

    Reply Yes, and Ministers have made clear the doomsday scenarios are nonsense

    • SecretPeople
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      “the government’s own Brexit no deal analysis” – written by ‘senior civil servants’, so no surprise there.

      • Andy
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Who would you prefer did the analysis? Beryl who works in Tesco? Wayne a fisherman in Grimsby?

        You’re really going to trusts the charlatan Brexiteers who have been proven wrong on every single count about Brexit?

        Hell – I don’t care. If there are medicine shortages I can afford private healthcare anyway. We will not be the ones who suffer.

        And if there are food shortages I can go to live in my place in France. There will be plenty to eat there.

        The ones affected by this will be YOU – the people who voted for it -and I, for one, will be laughing at you.

        • ji
          Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Private healthcare has the same access to marketed medicines as the NHS. There won’t be any shortages as can be sourced from the rest of the world and reciprocal restrictions on our part would harm EU more than us.

        • NickC
          Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          Andy, You claim only the EU knows how to govern us because you think we cannot do it ourselves. Where is your “analysis”? Where is your evidence? Where even is your explanation? Why is the UK uniquely unable to govern itself?

        • Richard1
          Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          Your unpleasant and disdainful snobbery is revealing and does no service to your argument.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

          A winner doesn’t come on this site on a Sunday. (At least I admit it.)

    • Richard1
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      How do all those countries around the world like Switzerland Canada Australia Singapore etc all manage without being in the EU? Surely they should all be starving and in a state of economic collapse?🤔

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Because the EU likes tariffs. This is OK with anti Trumpists (such as the BBC) – it’s fair play. It’s what we little Englanders deserve for defying the EU, yet when Trump imposes tariffs…

      Along with their eagerness to believe the Babchenko ‘murder’ last week. Clear cut goodies and badies here there and everywhere. Pantomime exaggerations, which were here long before the EU referendum, at the time of the ERM fiasco.

      “Brexit ! Booooo !!!”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Who is instructing these “civil servants” to produce these doomsday scenarios at tax payer expense? Could they not be redeployed to fill up some pot holes, help feed people properly or wipe bottoms at the NHS or answer the phone at HMRC?

    • Edward2
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Written by remain supporting civil servants perhaps?
      Project Fear continues.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        They should ideally be fired so they can get a productive job rather than this tax payer funded anti-productive one.

    • Andy
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      You mean Tory ideologues have dismissed impartial expert advice.

      What if the experts are right? Will you go to Cornwall to apologise?

      • Jagman84
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        ” Impartial expert advice”. Ha! Ha! That’s your best one yet! Maybe you should close down your company and take up comedy writing. Alternatively, I hear that the circus is looking for more clowns!🤡

      • Edward2
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Previous project fear reports published have already been seen to be too negative with predictions already seen not to have come true.
        I haven’t noticed any apologies from you Andy, only more predictions of doom, just for some later date in the future.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        It is not that hard to distinguish between real, honest and independent experts and group think ‘experts’ and dopes on the make. Like those involved in the Climate Alarmist Exaggeration Scam.

        Best if they have a degree in Maths, Physics or a real Science rather than PPE, Social Sciences and Humanities for a start. Then you ask them questions which reveal how they are thinking or often not thinking. Have they get a decent grade in Further Maths & Physics A level is a good guide I find! Though it does make you rather ‘sexist’ as rather fewer women than men do have.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        If you think the civil service is neutral regarding European integration and in particular EU membership then you need your head examined. How do you think people could even get themselves recruited into the service, let alone promoted, if they were not at least prepared to cheerfully go along with what successive governments have been promoting over nearly six decades? After the referendum the question was whether they would be prepared to set aside their personal preferences and loyally perform their duty, now we know that there are significant number who are not willing to do that.

      • NickC
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Will you apologise when it becomes clear that the UK can exist just as well outside the EU as in it?

      • mickc
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        True experts are in the sciences…..anyone else is just a pundit, whose views are merely that…views. And we have indeed had enough of that type of “expert”….examples are Iraq, Libya, Syria….preceded by Vietnam….

      • Bob
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Impartial? That’s fake news to start with.
        Do you remember how the likes of Ken Clarke, Blair and Branson warned of the dire consequences of not joining the Euro? Go tell the good folk of Greece and Italy.

        You really need to wake up and smell the coffee Andy.

    • Stred
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Civil servants and May/Hammond are a deliberately preventing a customs system being ready by the time of the vote on a guaranteed bad deal,. Then they will suggest a new referendum with enhanced Project Fear. Honest MPs need to call for bids to add tariffs and other information needed to operate under WTO rules. There are plenty of software experts in the UK and elsewhere who would be glad t do the job for far less than the £20 bn that our incompetent or untrustworthy civil service has claimed in order to scupper Brexit.

    • Nig l
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      If I was in business and my team produced scenarios that were nonsense that would be completely unacceptable and there would be consequences for them. Please explain who produces this alleged rubbish and if it so badly researched, are they still employed and why were people with such poor skills employed in the first case?

      Or of course, is it yet more of the Civil Service’s extension of project fear and once again why does TM et al put up with it unless secretly she empathises and is grateful for their ‘dirty work’?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        There are almost never any consequences in the state sector for anyone. You can for example be a dreadful teacher teaching hundreds of children for years but you never get fired.

        Or you can strongly recommend the ERM and the EURO for the UK but you never get fired.

        Not even Carney, Hunt or Hammond are fired.

    • Prigger
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      There is no time to lose. Move to a another country NOW. Morocco seems up your street

    • graham1946
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Receiving a report of doomsday is not fact. You keep predicting doom and gloom whilst the figures that count keep rising. You keep wishing the country will collapse just so the oh so clever Andy will be proved right. Doesn’t make it fact.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Omg, what other rubbish are you going to come out with today? Where’s the nearest air raid shelter? So does that mean that half of Europe won’t be able to sell us their goods? I don’t think the member countries will put up with that.

    • Student
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Your post honestly made me laugh, the desperate claims of remainers just get more and more ridiculous. Are you not able to think rationally? Civilised countries existed before the EU, and will continue to do so afterwards.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        Must be a mature student.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I think the British newspapers – from the left to the right are ALL often pretty unreliable sources in general when it comes to Brexit (whether for or against the EU). A lot of exaggeration – from both Remainers and Brexiters.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink


      Ha ha ha you are so funny , you’ll believe anything

      1) Dover is just fine, not sure what your obsession with Dover is. Do you still not understand the goods export market ?

      2) 5 of the top 10 global drug companies are British ( 1 is German) so its the continent who will run out of medicine not us

      3) Cornwall is another area you’ve never visited. Its surrounded by fish on 3 side Agriculture in Cornwall is a bigger industry than tourism

      4) Its come as a huge surprise to 165 non EU countries that they have no food and drugs

      You think the Leave voters were lied too…… Lol Andy you must be the most naive person on the planet

  12. JoolsB
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    “I look forward to the day when the UK can negotiate her own trade terms around the world.”

    So do all of us who voted Brexit John but with May and Hammond at the helm, I fear we may be waiting a very long time. They have to go!!

  13. hans christian ivers
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink


    What happens to the solution of “NO Deal” and therefore according to you we just trade under WTO rules, if, the trade -wars start as we now have with the US?

    The tariffs on steel are illegal and it will take years through the WTO , which does not have enough judges for the moment?

    If, the WTO breaks down due to a number of bottle-necks in the system, where does that leave the UK?

    The Chinese seem to be breaking the rules on intellectual rights as well, is this the case?

    Are there other alternatives we can use ?

    What is your vies on this ?

    Reply There are no alternatives for us or the EU to WTO rules for our world trade. Mr Trump will not break the WTO

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Well, we have no special trade deal with US but still manage to trade with them, as acknowledged by Labour’s Emily Thornberry in January:

      “Thirdly, we have been trading perfectly successfully with the United States for a very long time, they are our biggest trading partner outside the EU without a trading deal anyway.”

      So according to Labour’s self-contradictory analysis we don’t actually need any trade deal with the United States to trade “perfectly successfully”, as we’ve been doing that “for a very long time” and apparently basic WTO terms are just fine for that, but on the other hand it would be disastrous if we left the EU without any special trade deal with them …

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Ha has had the choice to nominate new judges for the past 12 months and has not done so, so I am not sure I share your view on this

    • Ian wragg
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Trump is 100% correct to expose China and the EU for their corrupt practices
      Just a shame May and Hammond disagree instead they should be explaining that the tariffs being applied are because we are in the Customs Union.
      No chance of that is there.

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Hans, There is no such thing as “NO deal”. There is the WTO deal; and no other exists (yet). As you well know, but choose to pretend otherwise, 98% of global trade (imports/exports) takes place under WTO rules, including EU (non domestic) trade.

      A small number of regional trade agreements (RTAs, MRAs) have been added to the comprehensive WTO rules. We will be able to do the same once we are free of the EU. At the moment we cannot do anything about Chinese dumping or German mercantilism. With the WTO trade deal, we can.

  14. Mark B
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The irony of Mr Trump’s stance is lost on them. He is imposing tariffs to try to bash down the barriers and unfair trading practices others have imposed.

    Creative destruction. By causing a fuss he is bringing attention, and in time people, to the negotiating table. If people are happy with the deal they got why renegotiate ? President Trump is highlighting the fact that they need good access to the USA market and, if they do not let the USA have the same access to their’s then there is going to be trouble.

    I can see only the UK and Ireland losing out in most of this. The USA is by far the biggest market for us both and staying in the EU Customs Area would only invite tariffs against us.

    The EU recognises that the UK out of the Customs Union would be disastrous. EU Citizens could get cheaper goods and bring them in without tariffs. Well my solution to that is simple. Abolish the Customs Union !

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink


      Keep dreaming there is not majority for this in the EU and the cheaper goods from the UK are not as important as you have made them out to be, as this sort of out of EU trade is already happening

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      ‘Creative destruction’

      – is utter nonsense. You can’t base certain areas of the economy on this but not overall.

      Do you think Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or highly successful businessmen like them (with large exports abroad) focused on ‘creative destruction?’ Complete opposite. They focused on creativity (but not destructive creativity) / innovation / deep strategic-thinking and so on. The opposite to ‘creative destruction.’

      • libertarian
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Ed M

        Er you are totally and utterly wrong. Creative destruction is the main method of disinter-mediating the market and the biggest source of creativity in a high tech digital world

        You seriously dont know that Apple introduce new model phones EVERY September ?

        Or maybe you dont know what ‘creative destruction” means?

        Creative destruction refers to the incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new units replace outdated ones.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          I stand corrected. I am wrong – on the business meaning of the word (I heard someone use it the other day, for the first time, but in quite a different way/context).

          However, not sure how Apple’s approach to its products and ‘creative destruction’ has any relevancy to Trump or why choosing Apple’s approach works in politics or is good for a country overall – its economy and everything else?

  15. DUNCAN
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I only know one thing. That my party’s MPs voted for a EU zealot to lead our party. That zealot is now this nation’s PM. On that basis articles such as this represent little more than meaningless rhetoric

    I’m more interested in the real world and the actual

    I am tired of politicians who play the narrative form of politics. I want a politician who rejects narrative and elevates the truth above all else, however brutal and uncomfortable that truth is.

    Trump will defend the US. May will not defend the UK. She’s the leader not of a nation but of a region.

    Wake me up when we have a leader of a sovereign, independent nation that is the United Kingdom as opposed to the pro-EU liberal left farce we have to tolerate today

    • Iago
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Today we no longer have freedom of speech in this country and May is already imprisoning those who state the wrong views. In effect our society, our civilization, is being destroyed.

      • bigneil
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Iago, you missed the last word off your comment, it is . . . DELIBERATELY.

      • rose
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        So the rest of the world is saying, but do the majority here even know? I had hoped Mr Javid would have been asked about this internationally raging scandal this am but no such luck.

        • rose
          Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Talking of not being allowed to say what one wants, Alastair Campbell was witch hunted on LBC this am by his own daughter for saying “bird”. Someone in that world needs to tell those language impoverishers in the Campbell household, especially the one with the educational pretensions, that “bird” or “burd” is Middle English for “bride, maiden, woman, lady” and is therefore the perfect PC, status-neutral term for a member of the female sex.

          Over in Italy, Mr Salvini is not being allowed to say there aren’t enough jobs and housing in Italy for Italians, let alone half the African continent. Apparently it will stoke xenophobia. To state the obvious, it is four governments in a row not doing anything about the problem that have stirred passions, not Mr Salvini, and our own politicians should take note, especially Ruth Davidson. Eventually we will throw up a Salvini of our own.

          • Bob
            Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            I prefer Jim to Ruth.

          • Bob
            Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

            The elephant in the room is known as UN Agenda 21.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed so, and Mr Redwood is part of the problem. He will not allow certain critical comment especially of his authoritarian leader. He is getting like a fish which can’t see the water it swims in.

        • rose
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          I think he knows very well what people think. Why does he take so much time and trouble over this blog, doing all the moderation himself, if he is just a fish which can’t see the water it swims in? I can’t think of another blog like it.

    • forthurst
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      The existing system of FPTP creates a choice of bad or worse. Well, which would you choose?

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I had a sudden realisation this week that far from being a weak & feeble PM and negotiator Mrs May is a supreme strategist – she is luring EU into declaring that nothing (other than the money) is acceptable to the EU & UK must leave without a deal. Then I awoke to find it was just a dream.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I awoke to find the Sunday Times once again splashing with the latest anti-Brexit leaks of confidential official information from the pro-EU fifth column marching in the civil service, who would do better to spend time planning how the government could mitigate the “no-deal” catastrophe they allegedly anticipate, for example by making use of provisions in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

  17. John Plumb
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I find your reason for the disparity in sales of cars between the US and Germany as due to the tariffs a little narrow. Is it not true that Germany make hgh quality cars that are in demand in the US and that the US make cars, in general, are not of a sufficient standard to compete?

    • michael mcgrath
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Diesel emissions included?

    • graham1946
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      That may be the case, but if so why does the EU need a 10 percent tariff to keep them out, other than they may be cheaper and people will always want cheap. The EU likes to keep prices to it’s citizens high for all kinds of products, just to protect EU producers and cares not a fig for the living standards of its people.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      ‘Is it not true that Germany make hgh quality cars that are in demand in the US and that the US make cars, in general, are not of a sufficient standard to compete?’

      – exactly, the words of realistic, pragmatic capitalist and not an ideological one.

      • Bob
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        German cars aren’t what they used to be.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          Doesn’t matter what you or i think. It’s what the market thinks that matters – that’s what Trump (and some other politicians) doesn’t appear to get.

    • ji
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Japanese cars are better than German, what’s the EU tariff for these?

      • Georgy Llewor
        Posted June 6, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        On Japanese cars made in Japan, 10%, on Japanese cars made in the EU like the Nissan cars made in Sunderland, I think none (to be confirmed by someone really in the know).

  18. frankD
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Surely all of this unhappiness could or should have been worked out between the EU and the US at WTO level rather than causing turmoil with world trade. Question is- what good is WTO if it cannot sort out this sort of stuff before trade wars happen..we may just as well have no WTO rules and trade as we wish, with whom we wish, with tariffs or without tariffs

    Our host JR still thinks that the US is our best hope for future trade deals post brexit but from my reading of it the US as usual will only be looking out for its own interests as always and in the end let us down- closest allay and all such nonsense really amounts to very little

    Reply I have always said we can trade fine with or without new trade deals

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      We can indeed trade fine with or without new trade deals – as many other independent countries clearly do.

      But to be competitive we need sensible, far smaller government, far lower taxes, far fewer restrictive regulations, cheap reliable energy, easy hire and fire, a sensible quality preferred immigration policy and someone in Nos 10 and 11 who actually understands this and has some sensible vision. Some one sensible like Sir John Cowperthwaite.

      Well worth reading the book:- Architect of Prosperity: Sir John Cowperthwaite and the Making of Hong Kong.

      Their Heath Service delivers better life expectancy too for less than half the cost as a % of GDP too.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      ‘Should have been worked out at WTO level’

      Maybe Trumps reasoning is that he doesn’t have the time to waste. He promised his voters to do these things and only has 4 years to do it and if the politicians and the elite have their way they would stymie him into doing nothing, just as Obama achieved in 8 years. As a business man rather than a politician he knows the value of time and he is not a time server.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        ‘As a business man rather than a politician he knows the value of time and he is not a time server’

        – he’s the wrong kind of businessman for the US. You need a businessman who knows how valuable time is in building up a company (/ country) – through creative thinking, deep strategic-thinking and so on.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, why after getting on for two years has the minister for the civil service, that is the Prime Minister, apparently taken no action at all to prevent disloyal pro-EU elements in the service that she supposedly controls constantly colluding with disloyal pro-EU elements in the mass media to try to frustrate her own official government policy on withdrawal from the EU? Why has she not long ago called in the security services, including GCHQ, to track down the miscreants so they can be disciplined, in the worst cases summarily dismissed and charged with criminal offences “pour encourager les autres”? Do these so-called “public servants” not realise that what they are doing now was obviously in line with the wishes of previous Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago but should not now be in line with the wishes of his successor?

  20. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Instead of moaning about USA tariffs, why don’t we get the hell out of the EU and make our own? At least Trump is thinking about his own workers and not giving away to another country.

    On the subject of too many posts from L\L. I can only say I enjoy reading his posts which I find straightforward honest and full of common sense. Not full of ridiculous ideas the likes of which we hear too often from the houses of Parliament and those who are supposed to be working for us.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      ‘At least Trump is thinking about his own workers and not giving away to another country”

      – No, he’s not. Or else he hasn’t a clue what he’s doing.

      You don’t build up an economy through protectionism / tariffs. You build it up by supporting your entrepreneurs to innovate and create high quality products to export abroad.

      (I find it utterly bizarre that so many on the ‘right’ are supporting Trump and his protectionism / tariffs – it’s as if our great country has taken leave of its senses).

      • APL
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Ed Mahony: “You don’t build up an economy through protectionism / tariffs. ”

        Of course, that’s exactly what China has done.

        And as the USA is still the largest economy in the World, and US companies are integral parts of the economies of the rest of the world, Ford, Citi, IBM, Alcoa to name well know names in but four distinct sectors.

        They can pretty much do as they please.

        China on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish. They engage in industrial espionage on, well an industrial scale, they ignore patent protections, pirate designs and etc ed.

        So, quite why the British government is so focused on Russia as the great threat, when its economy is somewhere down around twelfth ranked by GDP, is anyone’s guess.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          ‘Of course, that’s exactly what China has done’

          – What’s China got to do with it. It’s a Communist country with still large levels of poverty / still an emerging economy as opposed to a mature one, high innovation and so on (unless you want to be like China)?

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

            ‘high innovation’

            – Corbyn might be focused on China. But Trump should be focused on how to return the USA to being a top country for innovation in technology and business in general. But he doesn’t know how to do that (because he doesn’t have the business experience – his business is very niche although it has served him well for his particular goals) so he resorts to crude protectionism.

      • libertarian
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Ed M

        US unemployment is 3.8% the lowest its been for 18 years

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          Trump’s responsible for that? How?

          What about economic cycles? And Trump’s just riding on one (not forgetting the Great Recession of 2008).

          I am a Republican. If another Republican was in power, i have no doubt we’d be in a similar position economically. Except that we don’t want to over-heat our economy. We want steady, strong growth.

          Would another Republican leader have introduced tariffs?

          Not forgetting there is far more to a country than just the economy (important as that is).

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          We’re both Republicans, right? So we’re basically in agreement. The disagreement is over Trump.

          In particular the way he treats women, so much of the foreign world, and seems to have nothing to say about the important of the arts, things like that, things that make a country interesting and civilised.

  21. Original Richard
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The UK may not have had these tariffs applied to us if we had not been part of the EU/EU’s Customs Union. We sell no aluminium to the US (if we sell any at all to anyone) and the steel we sell amounts to just £350m/year – a figure which equates BTW to the gross amount we send to the EU each and every week.

    It is an EU promulgated falsehood that it is better for the UK to be part of the EU’s large Customs Union.

    Firstly because it is far more difficult to make trade deals as part of a large group of individual nations (28 in the case of the EU and soon to be 34) all of whom need to be satisfied and all of whom have completely differing economies and hence ideas for want they want and don’t want in any trade deal.

    And secondly because it is most likely that any EU negotiated trade deal would be of more benefit to Germany (cars) and France (agriculture) than the UK (services).

  22. hefner
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    What about German cars being on average of better quality and technologically more advanced than American brands (not always made in the USA) of cars.
    When living in North America I had successively three different American cars, all gas-guzzlers, of rather poor handling. Finally fed-up and switched to Hondas. Bliss.
    I was certainly happy when returning to Europe to get back to European brands.

    • ji
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Honda is Japanese.

      • hefner
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, but my Honda had been built in the US, I guess by American workers, and still so much better than its US brand counterparts.

        • ji
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          It has been assembled in the US but it’s still Japanese.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink


      Why on earth would you buy three bad cars? Did you not test drive them first, did you not research?

      How was German diesel engine tech working then?

      Oh and I like German cars , I have 3

  23. Andy
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    You are wrong on two points.

    Firstly, in most cases tariffs are largely irrelevant. Contrary to your wildly inaccurate claims most EU tariffs are quite low. Non tariff barriers are a far bigger problem than tariffs – and to eliminate NTB’s you need cooperation. Indeed the most successful example of the elimination of non tariff barriers is Margaret Thatcher’s single market which – of course – those erroneously claiming to act in her name now are tearing down.

    Secondly, the problem with Trump is not the tariffs. It is the complete and utter disregard of the rule of law, of international order and the diplomatic norms. Your ally – the morally bankrupt President – will cost jobs in Port Talbot. You presumably will not go to Port Talbot to explain to workers why their jobs have gone. That’s someone else’s problem, eh?

    What we have seen from both Trump and the Brexiteers is a complete and utter disregard of anyone but themselves. We should not be surprised that the hard-right indulges only in the politics of the selfish but both of these lots have taken it to the extreme.

    The hard-right is selfish and hateful. The western world is better than that. It is better than all of you. This is a war for our future – and it is a war which will end with backward nationalist pensioners being crushed.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      It’s like reading some student union newspaper decades ago.
      All bitter and twisted and showing open hatred for older people.
      I used to find you hilarious now you are getting all angry and nasty.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Hey. In a democracy we don’t label moderate opinion ‘extremist’ in order to shut down opinion we dislike, OK ?

      The time to have objected to a negative referendum result was *before* the referendum. Otherwise you are treading on soure grapes because the referendum you endorsed by taking part in it did not go your way.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink


      NTB are also outlawed under WTO rules.. You are ignorant

      If you had ever done business in say Germany under the so called “single market” you would know there are in fact a whole heap of NTB put in place by Germany towards the EU countries trying to do business there

      Toddle off and shut your failed company down

  24. ChrisS
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand the intricacies of President Trump’s Steel tariffs but over cars is would seem to me a complete no-brainer for him to offer to equalise the tariffs on cars and offer the EU the option of equalising at the European import rate of 10% or the US import rate of 2%.

    As for Steel, President Trump seem to be ignoring the fact that Mercedes and BMW manufacture millions of SUVs in the US, presumably using American Steel. A majority of these vehicles are exported world wide.

    Although it’s now relegated to third car status, we have an elderly BMW X5 which has done over 145,000 miles and has given us sterling service since 2003. It was made in BMW’s Spartenburg plant in South Carolina. Currently the plant makes their complete range of SUVs at the rate of almost 700,000 a year, most of which are exported.

    Mercedes makes more than 300,000 vehicles a year at their plant in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Again, a majority are exported including to Europe. Daimler-Benz have recently announced a $1bn investment in the plant to manufacture electric vehicles and the batteries that power them.

    And Juncker’s response ? He wants to impose extra tariffs over and above the 10% currently charged on the less than 40,000 Harley Davidsons that are sold in Europe each year.


  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I have no settled view on whether the US trade complaints are justified, but I am clear that I do not want my country dragooned into supporting the EU right or wrong.

    And that is what must happen while we are in the, or even “a”, customs union with the EU, as the EU itself explains on its own website, for example:

    “The European Union created a Common Commercial Policy to govern its trade relations with non-EU countries. The creation of a common commercial policy followed as a logical consequence of the formation of a customs union among its Member States. The European Union’s trade policy therefore establishes common rules including, among others, a common customs tariff, a common import and export regime and the undertaking of uniform trade liberalization measures as well as trade defence instruments.

    The Common Commercial Policy is explicitly placed under the exclusive competence of the Union (Article 3 of the Treaty of Lisbon). This confirms existing case-law of the European Court of Justice and means that the Union alone is able to legislate and conclude international agreements in this field.”




    should be clear enough even for those who are a bit hard of understanding.

    The other point I would make is that there seem to be no attempts to put the economic effects of the US measures in perspective.

    A quick google suggests that the value of the steel imported by the US each year is around $29 billion and that of aluminium is similar at $23 billion, as a fraction of goods imports each is around the 1% level, and as a fraction of US GDP each is around 0.1%.

  26. Drachma
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Maybe we should leave the WTO as well’s obviously not working

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Drachma, It’s working well enough for the EU to run to it and complain about the USA.

  27. William Long
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Why is this sensible and logical view not coming from anywhere else in the Conservative party?

  28. Excalibur
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    President Trump is right to draw attention to the trade imbalances between the US and China, and with Germany. Apparently the US imports eight hundred billion dollars worth of goods, more than it exports.

    Post Brexit we should stand aside from arrangements between the US and the EU. We are a trading nation, and will have no difficulty in finding our own markets.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Been reading his tweets too I see

      I also like the tweets he does, love him or hate him, it’s good to know what he is thinking without the smoke and mirrors of the pr machine and press in the middle.

  29. Prigger
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I do not see how Trump’s tariffs on EU and Canadian steel is fundamentally wrong from the perspectives of the EU and Canada. I find it incredible the USA buys any steel at all from those places.
    The Chinese made the world’s first steel 403–221 BC. Remoaners may logicalise this in that Ivanka Trump and Trump himself have business interests in China and they may have got the recipe for steel and know-how from them via a deal.
    Anyway, it seems the cat is out of the bag in regard to the secrets of steel making and the EU and Canada shall have to think like the Chinese and invent and produce something more worthwhile which others cannot readily and easily produce.

  30. Ed Mahony
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    ‘If pro EU people agree, as they seem to do, that Trump’s new tariffs are harmful, they should also agree that the EU’s far bigger and more numerous old tariffs are also harmful’

    – Many US Republicans support the EU’s tariffs because they’re looking at Europe in the context of geopolitics – World War 2, the old Communist era, the IRA, and other destabilizing nationalist forces in Europe over recent decades – that profoundly damaged the UK and Europe, and affected the US to an important degree as well.

    Plus the tariffs aren’t specific for one country but for a group of countries together.

    If Brexiters are going to challenge Remainers on this, then they must explain how they think the UK and Europe as a whole will be safer, geopolitically, after Brexit, not forgetting, of course, that the USA (behind the UN / League of Nations) only REACTED to the Nazis once war had begun and the Nazis were dropping bombs on our cities.

    I’m AGAINST close political EU union but see important geopolitical (and economic) reasons for remaining close to Europe economically (and culturally) – as do many US Republicans!

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Although, a remainer, in the short-term, I’m also a Brexiter in the long-term, IF:

      1. The EU refuses to return to just a group of countries with close economic (and cultural) ties ONLY

      2. We manage to build up our economy so that the ship (the UK) has enough power to be launched into the big, wide open sea (where i believe it would do well) – the problem is getting the ship from the dockyard out to sea, and if we’re not careful, could end up tipping the ship over, before it reaches the sea.
      Every big enterprise requires capital / financial reserves, strategy and leadership – common sense whether in business, military strategy or politics.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        @Mr Redwood,

        Sorry, for going on about the EU (i said before, i wouldn’t) – i think Remainers (although i’m not really one) need to let Brexiters get on with it.


  31. Pragmatist
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    This criss-crossing of areas of the globe of commodities and manufactured goods is from a basic economic viewpoint downright uneconomic. It is the same with commuters in London criss-crossing London with plumbers and electricians going from A to B only for the same to travel to B from A. Then complain about train delays. There shouldn’t be any travel between the two points at all except for leisure and police and NHS purposes.

    Well there are many poor countries in this world who depend on criss-crossing trade. They do not have certain goods. But America does have most things and the EU would too if it were not managed by Junckerites. Such organisation depends to some extent on democracy and free-speech. The EU certainly needs massive imports of both those commodities. They have imposed almost 100% tariff on those goods and we would hear more about it but for the import shortfall.

  32. John Finn
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I agree with the consensus that trade wars are not helpful, and higher tariffs do impede growth and prosperity.

    John, in general your statement is true – but is it always the true for an individual country regardless of the imbalance in trade . GDP can be expressed in several forms one of which is:

    GDP = C + I + (X – M)

    where C = Consumption; I = investment; X =Exports and M = Imports.

    In 2016 our trade balance with the EU was -£80 billion, i.e. (X – M) = -£80 bn or more than 4% of GDP. Now I understand all the arguments about competitiveness and productivity but the trade deficit clearly represents a significant drag on growth and I’m not sure I accept that the benefits of free trade compensate fully for this.

  33. Adam
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Why not tax international trade rather than payroll.

  34. rose
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    A very much needed corrective. Thank you, as ever.

  35. Blue and Gold
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    As to be expected, a Tory Right winger sticks up for Trump!!

    Just shows how out of touch with the real world Brexiteers are.

    To support Trump rather than workers in the UK is hardly patriotic.

    But then, of course, the Brexiteer politians think they know more than ex Prime Ministers, FTSE 100 business leaders, the CBI and Trade Union leaders. All the people who live in the real world.

    John Redwood should be supporting the UK and EU , NOT Donald Trump.

    Reply If you read my piece you see I was sticking up for the UK! I said I disagreed with Trump’s steel tariff

    • hefner
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      And to be fair, the other JR who writes once a month about passive investing for the FT has a rather more balanced view on the two Trumps. Well worth reading, if not protected by a firewall.

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      B&G, You want us to be a total vassal state of the EU; and we are currently partly there. I want us to be as independent of the EU as Australia and India are. But if it is impossible for the UK to be independent, as Remains on here insist (you, Andy, Rien, Hans, etc), then I would prefer to be a state of the USA, than a region of the EU.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      A friction based trade deal with the EU is a tariff based trade deal.

      So why is the EU allowed to brandish tariffs without censure but Trump not ?

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, off-topic, here’s this week’s letter to the Maidenhead Advertiser, which probably will not see the light of day …

    “Dear Sir

    On September 7th 2016 Theresa May told MPs that her government “… will not provide a running commentary on every twist and turn of the negotiation” to leave the EU.

    She has certainly kept her word on that, at least, over the following twenty-one months.
    There has indeed been a “running commentary”, but it has been provided by those who seek to obstruct and if possible prevent our withdrawal from the EU.

    As far as ripostes from the government are concerned, they have been few and far between and in general feeble. The Department for Exiting the European Union has its website, and it has a twitter account, but one will look in vain there for any rebuttals of the anti-Brexit black propaganda which is being pumped out day after day.

    Pumped out not only by opposing parliamentarians, especially those with zero electoral mandate who still see fit to defy the will of the people as expressed in the referendum, but also by the EU and its sundry “fifth column” supporters in this country.

    Including, shamefully, renegade officials who are constantly seeking opportunities to work against the settled policy of their government, and are getting away with it, gross breaches of confidence and all, quite probably criminal offences, and with no apparent concern on the part of the minister in charge of the civil service, who as always happens to be the Prime Minister.

    Yours etc”

    I think I’ve done quite well in containing my utter disgust at the way she is allowing or possibly even encouraging civil servants to try to overturn the referendum.

  37. formula57
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    ” The EU levies a 10% tariff on US cars, but the US only levies a 2.5% tariff on German cars” – is there no end to the wickedness of the Evil Empire?

  38. mickc
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    High tariffs do not impede growth and prosperity. Both Germany and the USA imposed tariffs in the 19th century to allow their manufacturing industries to survive and grow. Had they not, both would just be agriculture based economies.
    It depends entirely on what one is trying to achieve.

  39. Iain Gill
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I see the new home sec has said he is going to open the immigration floodgates even more.

    I can see the Conservative party learnt nothing at all from its failure to get a majority at the last election.

    The users of mass work visas, the outsourcing organisations where most of the people on their UK payroll are on, or originally entered the country on work visas, should be shut down for a start. Why give them more visas to undercut locals?


    Staggering that the political class have no feel or empathy for what sensible joined up winning polices look like.

    If you cannot get me to vote for you then you wont get a majority…


    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      I notice democracy in Italy if forcing the political class there to address immigration rather more seriously…

  40. Iain Gill
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Trump is correct.

    For lots of reasons.

    Nobody in the real world agrees with the lazy consensus of the political elite in this country.

    Why should we allow open access to our markets from country’s 1 using child labour 2 stealing intellectual property 3 disregarding pollution control, not paying for the expensive anti pollution kit our manufacturing has to 4 not using the expensive health and safety kit we do in our manufacturing? 5 etc

    • hefner
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Just a question: do you think Crispin Odey is part of the elite?

      • libertarian
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink


        As he owns a hedge fund and isn’t a politicians he’s not likely to be part of the “political elite” . He is obviously part of the 1% elite, but then so are you

  41. Roman Hoff
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    ‘Pack your bags’: Italy’s Salvini talks tough on migrants
    Now is that a soft bag or a hard bag?

  42. anon
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    So why is May et al not already out the door, early, instead of advocating delay.

    This is another reason for us to expedite our exit from the EU.

    The EU will likely retaliate by placing tariffs on mainly items that trade between the UK & US, if they can.

    Time to change tac and the leader.

  43. miami.mode
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    About time we had a new Royal Yacht to assist with trade around the world and show what the UK can do. Brexit Britannia.

    The top of a Conservative government always appears to underestimate the pride most people have in their country – a failing that seems endemic in Westminster.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Anyone else who’s proud to be English? The news tonight is saying that many aren’t. What a sad day.

    • Bob
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      The loss of the royal yacht was a blow to Britain’s prestige, which of course is exactly why it was axed. Blair, Mandelson and Campbell are globalist sock puppets.

  44. NorthbyEast
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    If DD and Mrs May think that by phoning Giuseppe Conte is going to put the frighteners on Barnier or Junker then I’m afraid they are mistaken as we will see shortly .. if this is the best they can do then we are surely sunk

  45. Richard
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I see Michael Burrage, the economist has updated his review on the EU’s “single market in services” (SMinS):
    “In 2010 the difference between intra- and extra-EU [Services] exports was 0.78%, … Over the seven years to 2016, the difference declined to 0.63%. Far from widening and deepening therefore, it is fair to conclude, by the Commission’s preferred measure, that the single market in services (SMinS) has been shrinking and subsiding. If present trends continue, it will disappear altogether in a few years’ time.”….

    “The UK is distinguished from other members in these recent figures by the small proportion of its [Services] exports, just over a third (36%), that go to the EU…. Many other countries in the world have offered a higher degree of access to EU services exporters, and over these years, many of them, including a large number from the UK, have been taking advantage of the greater access these other countries have offered.”

    While no surprises, academic support/confirmation is always good.

    • Richard
      Posted June 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      and… “David Cameron thought that one of the achievements of his pre-Brexit negotiations was that other member countries had agreed to ‘deepen‘ the SMinS. George Osborne and HMT evidently felt that this entitled them to add two per cent to their predictions of UK GDP in 2030 if the UK remained a member. “

  46. Anonymous
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink


    The establishment has wilfully misinterpreted what the public want by excluding skilled workers. (As it happens my opinion is that we should not be poaching doctors from the third world and be training more of our own.)

    It is the same reaction when we vote for local council cuts – a punishment manifesto. Scrap the bin collections, preserve the five-a-day coordinators.

    D’oh !

    We all know what they’re up to.

    #Time’s Up.

  47. Doctor Who
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    BBC “Slovenia election: Anti-immigrant SDS is largest party”

    At this rate, if Mrs May doesn’t get her skates on in negotiations she’ll be sat opposite 27 other EU nations states who say “Sure you can leave the EU, we 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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