Karl Jones tells us two things about Brexit, tariffs and imports (Letters, 8 November) in response to my own letter to you (6 November). These two are as follows: “True, charging zero tariffs on foreign goods should make them cheaper”; and “Imports alone do not generate wealth for any but the few rich importers.”
It is somewhat difficult to reconcile these two points. If you, I, or Mr Jones, pay less for the imports we desire and consume in the absence of taxation of them, then we are richer – by exactly the amount of tax that we’re not being charged on our consumption. We all do agree, at least we ought to, that a cut in the VAT rate will, considered alone, make us richer by leaving more money in our pockets with which to do other things. Tariffs are equally a tax upon our consumption. Lower that tax and we’re richer.
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute
Seriously, the idea that imports only benefit the firms doing the importing and not the consumers……