Britain and Europe
[Re: Our current membership of the EU is stifling British dreams of free trade, yesterday]
Finally, a Conservative MP tackles the cliches repeated by David Cameron and Ken Clarke. Our economy would not fall into disrepair were we to leave the EU. Many of the world’s richest economies are small, independent nations – Norway, Switzerland and Singapore, for example. To argue that successful trade negotiations are dependent on our current membership of the EU is to disregard the deals already struck by such countries. Our trade relationship with the US and others would be better off without the obstacles put in place by the French.
I admire Dominic Raab’s chutzpah, but his case is emotional rather than factual. UK trade with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in 2012 was half that of its trade with Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Yes, it is important to develop new markets. But we can do that as a member of the EU, as Germany does. German exports to India and China are double those of the UK. As for negotiating a trade treaty with the US, America won’t prioritise a British deal over any EU deal. And - as the Swiss have discovered to their chagrin - we may lack the numerical leverage to negotiate a deal on good enough terms for UK businesses and consumers.
Peter Wilding, director, British Influence
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