The EU are notoriously dreadful at negotiating trade deals. It looks highly likely that we will not negotiate a trade deal, or even if we do, Britain will fall into the trap of transitional arrangements and have no time and resources to deliver the real benefits, which far outweigh a FTA.
The economic benefits to be had from quitting the EU include: reinvestment of our net contribution in infrastructure, digital connectivity, R&D, education and training; FTAs with other countries around the world and the removal of tariffs; reform of the CAP; repatriation of fisheries; and some deregulation. These add up to a huge boost to UK growth and can be applied from day onwards, drip fed into the mix to give a “self-raising” economy, but we must start to prepare now.
They are all in our own hands and we cannot allow the EU to impede or distract from them. We must recognise that the mission of the EU Commission is to ensure that we are as equally uncompetitive as the EU and that we are dragged down to the soggy bottom of European growth.
Undoubtedly it is everyone’s interests to deal with the technical and administrative details of exit: open skies, customs arrangements, visas, residency, a level playing field for trading in financial services across Europe, and these should be the focus of any ongoing discussions beyond the end of March 2018.
Clarity on all of this, by quarter one 2018, would give certainty to business and allow enough time not to require transitional measures.
What we do not want is some sugar-coated, fudged and half-baked deal emerging from the final summit, in typical EU fashion, when we can have a crisp exit on our terms.
In the Prime Minister’s own words, “No deal is better than a bad deal”. To put it another way, with the obstructive position EU leaders are taking, “No deal may well prove the best deal”. And this should be written in the icing on our Brexit cake.
John Longworth, Co-Chairman of Leave Means Leave and former Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce
May 3rd, 2017: Telegraph