Drivelling Federasts again

Withdrawal from the EU would nullify Britain’s trading treaties with the world in one stroke and reduce the country to a supplicant pleading for re-entry into the global system, a top panel of experts has warned.

Sigh.

Britain negotiates trade treaties through the EU, and would not inherit these after leaving. The UK would have to negotiate fresh bilateral trade deals with China, Japan, Brazil, Russia or the US, without the leverage of a trading superpower. Britain’s diplomatic resources would be stretched to breaking point trying to handle so many complex cases at once, the report said.

We would simply declare unilateral free trade and there’s not much difficult about that.

This is of course the usual suspects spreading FUD. But worse they’re the usual suspects who still have not understood the point of trade. It’s the imports we want, they’re the benefit of it all. Other people don’t want to buy our stuff? Or want to charge their citizens for the privilege? So damn what. Why should we tax ourselves for buying what we wish from the world’s cornucopia?

19 comments on “Drivelling Federasts again

  1. Because, pace Adam Smith, production and the income it generates for the producers (enabling them to consume in the damn first place) is actually important?

    Secondly because the voters will never stand for UKIP (or anyone else) declaring open season on said voters’ jobs. Which is basically where this “unilateral free trade” will end up.

    Granted we’d be better off in a world of absolute freedom from government interference in trade, but we are some way from such a highly desirable world, and it’s good to invest some effort in thinking about how we get there with minimal wreckage on the way.

  2. “Withdrawal from the EU would nullify Britain’s trading treaties with the world in one stroke and reduce the country to a supplicant pleading for re-entry into the global system, a top panel of experts has warned.”

    Holy fuck! A top panel of experts?!? To the Euromobile, Robin!

    “It included Sir Nigel Wicks from the British Bankers’ Association, Simon Walker from the Institute of Directors, BT chief Sir Michael Rake, Labour statesman Lord Mandelson and two former heads of UK operations in Brussels.”

    Wait… what? The top panel of experts turned out to be a handful of the usual wankers, cunts, blowjob artists, shoe sniffers and fuckers who’ve been riding the EU gravy train like they were Miley Cyrus on a big inflatable cock?

    Wobbly old men whose career is based on being professional chairmen of large companies, and the hairless eunuchs of the Foreign Office?

    I think we’ll be OK.

  3. Pfft. As if being a member of this customs union has been wonderful for our industry and balance of payments. Not!
    We haven’t traded a surplus with the continent since Heath sold us out. And they seem to have forgotten to mention we would regain our seat at the WTO which we lost whilst been chained to the EU corpse.

  4. But don’t we need to export to be able to trade for those lovely imports? If our exports are blocked then are we not just stuck with a bunch of stuff we made ourselves but don’t need? I’m totally for free trade and pretty anti-EU but I see the need for export as a means for those lovely iphones, Nikes etc. So I feel that if others dont want to buy our stuff then we’re in trouble rather than simply saying ‘so what’.

  5. Dongguan John, if no one want’s to buy your stuff your fucked no matter what the trade agreements say.

    The implicit threat behind this is that if the UK withdraws form the EU, the EU will block trade with the UK. That just isn’t going to happen and they know it, but they like the threat just hanging there.

  6. Let’s try the thought experiment:

    1) UKIP sweeps to power at the next general election. Farage is prime minister, Worstall is handed a peerage and appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    2) The UK leaves the EU, and hence is no longer covered by the EU’s trade agreements.

    3) Worstall abolishes all import barriers. Imports become cheaper than ever.

    4) In various other countries, imports from the UK are automatically subject to new tariffs, because the UK is no longer exempted from the tariffs by treaty. UK exports become uncompetitive.

    5) Importers buy lots of foreign currency, to pay for imported goods. Overseas countries have no reason to buy pounds, because they’re not importing from the UK. The pound collapses.

    6) As the pound falls, imports to the UK get more expensive, and exports from the UK get more competitive, despite the tariffs. Eventually equilibrium is reached. This equilibrium is at a much lower level of trade than currently. We are all worse off.

  7. When we joined the EEC, they tried to stop our favourable trade agreements with New Zealand, which would have been disastrous for New Zealand farming. Our diplomats (who apparently gave a fuck in those days) fought hard against this and wangled a special exemption for the British, which is why to this day New Zealand butter and lamb are common products in the UK. That’s the example that springs to mind, but I think there were other similar cases with other Commonwealth nations.

    So let me see if I’ve got this straight. Some of our extant trade agreements go against the EU’s principle of free trade within the EU and tax the fuck out of outsiders. We have had to fight the EU to be allowed to keep these trade agreements. And, if we leave the EU, we will lose those trade agreements.

  8. Pretty sure we have the EU by balls here. Any hint of large EU tarriffs should be returned with interest. Not sure the Germans and French would be too happy with 200% tarriffs on vehicles along with a zero tarrif on non-EU vehicles.

  9. PaulB said: “4) In various other countries, imports from the UK are automatically subject to new tariffs, because the UK is no longer exempted from the tariffs by treaty. UK exports become uncompetitive.”

    Is there something preventing the UK and other nations signing new treaties that reduce or abolish those tariffs?

  10. Many pronouncements on trade are from unidimensional thinkers… trade involves two parties.

    1) If exporting gives a Country money to pay for imports, then if the EU were not to buy from the UK, the UK would not have the money to buy from the EU.

    So who exactly would a block on sales to the EU hurt?

    2) The EU is not the whole World, but it is a declining economic area by comparison: smart business sells to rising stars not dying dogs.

    3) In the period from the 16th Century and mid-19th Century, England/GB imported far more (see East India Co) than it exported… and grew very rich.

    4) Generation of internal wealth also pays for imports, and Britain anyway has a large invisible export sector which cannot be blocked by EU.

    5) Trade is governed by international agreements to which the EU is a signatory. The UK, ex EU, would join the WTO independently and the EU would be obliged to trade with it as it does with everyone else, and the UK would be trading with other Countries under existing rules… so this idea of squads of diplomats rushing hither and yon making trade deals is inaccurate.

    And of course UK would now be able to trade with Countries without the restrictions placed on it by the EU.

    6) If you want to see Countries with net trade surplus, who export more than they import, look for poor Countries. The notion that export is the only means to grow rich and afford imports needs close examination.

    And as Mr W says, declaring unilateral free trade is the simplest and most effective route.

    As somebody remarked, just because the other people put rocks in their harbour is no reason to put rocks in ours.

  11. Desperate attempt at misinformation/scaremongering, along the lines of the Rocard attack – contrary to the attacks on UKIP – it’s the true ‘politics of despair’ – ‘we have an organization that is an unmitigated disaster in every respect but have too much invested in it to pull out or attempt to reform it’

    Interestingly both Norway and Switzerland have more influence within the WTO because they have their own representation. As the Eurozone contemplates, and seems likely to permit, compulsory confiscation of voters’ (those few that remain) money to keep the bureaucracy afloat, I think the various doommongers on here will find, as pressure from countries other than the UK (Finland, Holland, Estonia, Greece, Spain) to set up a looser alliance grows, their concerns will look even more absurd than they did before….

  12. PaulB’s thought experiment is solid –

    The default WTO position (to which the UK is already a signatory), still sees far more substantial trade barriers than the one faced by being a member of the EU – which has substantially internally lower trade barriers and decent bilateral trade agreements.

    I’m more sanguine about the consequences of departure tbf – an amicable agreement serves the interests of all parties (not least the Germans, who are big trade beneficiaries).

    Given that liberalisation in services is far behind product liberalisation, this will be problematic for the UK, but the idea that Britain will lose out from not being part of the EU as far as financial services is concerned is laughable – the bulk of investment banking and other financial services offered in the UK has nothing to do with the single market. Indeed freedom from the incompetent regulation of financial markets promulgated by the EU will probably be a boon.

    The immediate effect of departure will undoubtedly be negative as far as trade is concerned, even with an optimistic view about renegotiation – although the effects will probably be fairly mild. The long run effect is far from certain – it might be positive, it might be negative – depending on the way in which the UK chooses to regulate.

  13. Isn’t this the default Richard North “UKIP are a bunch of populist morons who don’t* understand how brilliant I am” position on trade?

    * Sometimes “no longer since that evil Farage took over …”

  14. “Other people don’t want to buy our stuff?” … hmmm, people from countries that do not sell much to the world clean the toilets (really, and other shit jobs) of those countries that do sell lots of stuff to the rest of the world.

  15. Surreptitious Evil,

    Richard North’s position AFAIK is that an independent UK would have to do loads of work to reintroduce/improve various customs procedures, treaty negotiating teams, etc and that it is better to have an intermediate step to independence* to buy time to do those things properly and before full independence.

    North wants to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s with regards to an exit plan to deny space to the doom mongers like article is reporting on.

    * Remaining a member of the single market for a period of time by either EFTA membership if they’ll have us or direct membership of the EEA I think.

  16. Withdrawal from the EU would nullify Britain’s trading treaties with the world in one stroke and reduce the country to a supplicant pleading for re-entry into the global system, a top panel of experts has warned.

    Let me rephrase that a little:

    Withdrawal from the UK would nullify Scotland’s trading treaties with the world in one stroke and reduce the country to a supplicant pleading for re-entry into the global system, a top panel of experts has warned.

    Why are so many people in favour of the latter not in favour of the former? Scotland doesn’t even have a Foreign Office to be over-worked.

  17. This is but the latest piece of propaganda from Roland Rudd and his Business for New Europe lobby group – the head of the CER is on the executive of BfNE for example and Michael Rate for example is on the advisory board. Mandelson is a long time associate of Rudd. The usual technique is to get letters published by the FT or the Independent from ‘concerned and independent businessmen’ and get them written up as articles by the PR swallowing journos who Rudd has in his pocket. This is a stage further, but should still be written up as ‘ lobby group in favour of Europe produces paper lobbying in favour of Europe shock’

  18. lobby group in favour of Europe produces paper lobbying in favour of Europe shock

    Or how it is normally stated around here, with regard to taxes admittedly rather than the EU (which is not, I would point out ‘Europe’), “WGCE”.

  19. “We would simply declare unilateral free trade and there’s not much difficult about that.”

    There is no way that would fly politically.

    “UK, ex EU, would join the WTO independently and the EU would be obliged to trade with it as it does with everyone else, and the UK would be trading with other Countries under existing rules”

    Would our withdrawal nullify our membership of the WTO? My understanding is that we are a member independently of the EU, although the EU carries on all the actual work on our behalf.

    “Why are so many people in favour of the latter not in favour of the former? Scotland doesn’t even have a Foreign Office to be over-worked.”

    The separatists are trying to spread the view that Scotland could remain in the EU and wouldn’t need to reapply.

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