Free Trade Agreements

David Collins, Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London

writes that “the next Prime Minister must aggressively pursue a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement in the spirit of full co-operation and amity with our European partners, presenting it, and genuinely so, as in our shared interest”.

“While it would be difficult to finalise such an agreement in four months, an interim agreement could be agreed in principle, as specified in Article XXIV of the GATT and Article V of the GATS, allowing the two parties to trade with virtually friction-free trade until a final agreement is in place.

“However, he is adamant that if such a trade deal (or an interim agreement leading to one) is not forthcoming by October 31st, then we should leave without a formal trade deal and that “a significant portion of the £39 billion that would have been paid to the EU had there been an FTA, but which will be withheld without one, can be set aside to help businesses cope with adjustments. It is hard to see why presenting ‘No Deal’ as a sensible counter-strategy to an FTA should in any way be construed as reckless or extreme”.

He reminds us that “It has been the EU’s trade agenda which has imposed all sorts of harmful policies, such as high tariffs on goods we don’t produce, anti-competitive data localisation rules, unscientific health and safety regulations on food and labyrinthine financial regulations. Don’t believe the merchants of doom. An FTA/No Deal strategy is the very essence of prudence and moderation”.

He concludes “With a no-deal Brexit in time for Halloween, by Christmas people will be wondering what all the fuss was about. It will be the biggest anti-climax since the predicted non-recession of the autumn of 2016”.

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