Brexit supporters argue persuasively that, because the UK buys more from the EU, that we have a strong negotiating position from which to quickly agree a new mutually beneficial trade deal, giving us continued access to the single market.
The UK sells 44 per cent of our total exports into the EU, but buys only 10 per cent of EU exports. We need access to the single EU market.
Most of this country’s exports and imports are with Germany, the Netherlands, France, Scandinavia, Belgium, Italy and Ireland. Trade with the majority of the EU members is insignificant.
Those in favour of leaving the EU believe that the UK could negotiate free trade agreements with other countries.
Since 1997, the World Trade Organisation has tried to reach and ratify a new free trade agreement covering goods and services without success and in 2015 abandoned the DOHA agreement. Region free trade agreements are being established.
The EU single market has 450 million customers, generating 20 per cent of the globe’s annual GDP.
Countries that are participants in regional free trade blocks will not want to agree deals with third parties which compromise or prejudice commitments already in place.
Canada, for example, has agreed terms with the EU for a free trade agreement (yet to be ratified) on terms that do not prejudice its existing commitments but which does not extend to free trade in financial services, the UK’s largest export carrier. The USA is adamantly opposed to free trade in financial services.
Your readers must decide if the UK, with its potential 65 million customers generating 3.5 per cent of global GDP, has the negotiating muscle and clout to secure a good deal for Britain when we are free to negotiate our own trade deals?