THE UK TO LEAVE THE SINGLE MARKET AND CUSTOMS UNION –
The media and the rest of the chattering classes are all geared up for Theresa May’s big speech tomorrow in which more definitive information on the Government’s Brexit strategy is expected.
The problem of uncontrolled migration from EU countries into the UK was a key factor in the Referendum outcome last June. If the result is to be respected, it follows that the UK must leave the single market and also the customs union. The only way we could stay in both is if we were allowed full and continued access to EU markets on the same terms as we now enjoy, but without being shackled by the freedom of movement requirement, and without the imposition of tariffs. This is the position for which our negotiators should aim. Would the EU countries not benefit from a similar future reciprocal trading situation with the UK, ie an ‘open’ relationship?
Obviously, British markets will remain vital to other EU countries. We should therefore be confident in our attitude to the negotiations to access and operate within the single market, without the freedom of movement and any other conditions. If the EU proves to be obstructive or unreasonable in the negotiations, and all things considered one cannot see why they would want to be, we should waste no time in giving Brussels notice of our intention to leave the EU at a time advantageous to us. Future trade would then be conducted under WTO rules.
Following the PM’s recent comments, it appears that leaving the single market may well be the direction of travel. It would be far from the end of the world. No trade agreement exists between the UK and the USA, for example, yet they are our largest single export market. Free trade deals with other countries facilitate and help to expand existing trading bonds. These ties have been continued by successive generations of British entrepreneurs on a foundation built by their predecessors over many centuries. Our business men and women are the real deal-makers.
With goodwill on both sides, we can retain our current strong trade links with Europe. But we must also re-establish serious trading links with other non-EU countries, unhindered by unacceptable conditions imposed by Brussels. If necessary, and as a matter of priority, the Government must be prepared to introduce radical new measures to make the UK an even more attractive place to do business. Here, inter alia, I refer to significant changes to existing tax and investment rules. In other words, we would change the UK economic model to make us seriously more competitive.
I’m sure Mrs May will not disappoint!