The Spectator, Martin Howe QC, September 20
Boris Johnson says the EU has refused to negotiate seriously with the UK for the last few months, and time has now run out for reaching a trade agreement before 31 December when the current transition period ends.
The PM has been pressing the EU for a free-trade agreement comparable to Canada’s deal with the EU (CETA). He is right to say that what the EU is offering the UK is inferior to CETA, despite the UK’s close relationship with the EU for the last 45 years which should, if anything, lead to a better deal.
The problem isn’t just the EU’s demands for permanent ownership of a large slice of UK fishing waters, or EU-based state aid controls and level playing field clauses designed to damage the future competitiveness of UK industries – all absurd demands which are not in the EU’s free trade agreements with Canada or anyone else. The problem is that the actual trade terms the EU is now offering would be a rotten deal for the UK, and much inferior to Canada’s deal.It is clear that the EU is singling the UK out for vindictive punishment
The EU has a massive surplus of £95bn per year in goods trade with the UK. Meanwhile, the UK is a service-based economy and has a smaller surplus in services trade with the EU of £23bn. The EU exports far more goods to the UK, and its exports are heavily concentrated in high-tariff sectors such as vehicles, agriculture and clothing. As a result, if there are zero tariffs between the UK and the EU, the EU’s exporters stand to gain more than double the tariff reliefs which UK exporters would obtain in the opposite direction.
Click here to read the article in full.