Can Britain really survive outside of the EU?
Outside the European Union and its restrictive Customs Union, the United Kingdom will be able to reclaim its seat at the World Trade Organisation – a seat we vacated because the EU speaks on our behalf. From this position, we will be able to negotiate our own trade deals with the rest of the world, without being hampered by membership of the EU.
There’s no doubt trade between Britain and other European countries will continue. Article 3 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty states that the Union shall contribute to free and fair trade. Article 8 says the Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness. We are the EU’s biggest customer, buying more from them than we sell to them (a ‘trade deficit’), so it’s in the interest of the EU to avoid any costly trade war. They will continue to sell to us and we will continue to sell to them.
But isn’t half our trade with the EU?
Trade with the EU is undoubtedly important for the UK, but it is well under 50 percent of our total trade and is falling every year. ‘Trade in goods’ with the EU constitutes only five to eight percent of the total British economy.
Outside the EU won’t we have to abide by EU rules without having a say on them?
When we trade with the USA, India, China, Brazil, Russia etc, we have no say on their standards, so why should the EU be any different?
Our ideal relationship outside the EU is about recognition of standards and not harmonisation. We can get this through a free trade agreement with the EU. Those that trade with the EU should meet EU standards and vice-versa. But EU over-regulation raises costs and it risks regulating itself out of business.
By recognising EU standards in trade only, we no longer have to accept European laws on working time, energy, immigration, welfare and a whole host of other costs to our economy and society. Even inside the EU, we only have eight percent voting power and the national veto has gone from many policy areas. Our influence is best exerted outside the EU.
What’s wrong with staying part of the EU?
The EU is in decline as an economic power. In 1980, the EEC (as it was then known) accounted for 30% of global output. By 2017 this had already shrunk to 17%, according to the IMF.
Our EU membership limits our potential. Britain will be much better off negotiating its own trade agreements with the Anglosphere and Commonwealth nations, which have stronger economies and offer a growing market for British exports.
Membership of the EU costs us at least £14.5 billion (gross) every year! Britain – and its hard-pressed taxpayers – cannot afford to continue throwing this money down into the EU’s deep dark black hole.