Trade Advantages of Leaving the EU

In an article in the Daily Telegraph of 12th February, Peter Lilley, senior Trade Minister in the Thatcher government, describes the face-to-face attempts by Prime Minister Cameron to get him to support the “stay-put” campaign.  Lilley goes on to say he is going to vote to leave on many grounds, political and economic.

With respect to the latter Lilley notes that “in the unlikely event of the EU refusing a free trade agreement, we could ensure our export trade was unaffected by using the savings on our EU contribution to reimburse the tariffs exporters would otherwise face, still leaving £4 billion to spare”.

But the gain would be much greater than that since under World Trade Organisation rules, we could impose similar tariffs on EU goods coming into Britain. This on its own would give us a gain of around £4 billion without touching the nearly £12 billion we currently pay to the EU.  This is because EU exports are worth nearly £80 billion more than our goods exports to them and current tariffs applied by the EU average 5.3%.  In the event of tariffs being imposed by the EU in defiance of its own Lisbon Treaty, EU exports to the UK would very likely be reduced, giving much needed relief to our steel-making and steel-using industries.

But it won’t happen. German manufacturers like Volkswagen, BMW and Siemens will see to that.

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