After three years, quite a few people in the UK, including many MP’s and even Cabinet Ministers, see a “no deal” Brexit as a “catastrophic” occurrence that will make the crash of 2008 look like a walk in the park. They sneeringly say “I thought that would be the easiest trade deal in history” or “as if the UK had any leverage in this negotiation” or even “planes will be grounded, trucks will be held in 25 mile long traffic jams and trade with the EU will cease altogether, forever”.
First, I would say to these doom mongers, the trade deal hasn’t started to be negotiated, because, the EU stated from the off that trade would not be on the table until the UK had left the EU. Has the UK left the EU? So please stop this propaganda about a “trade deal”. It is, quite frankly, childish to expect grown adults to swallow that nonsensical argument.
The remainers also point to “leverage” in the “deal”. The UK exports £274 billion to the EU, while EU imports to the UK are £341 billion. OK, they say, we need the EU more than they need us, so any talk of leverage is a “unicorn”. But, if those who wish to leave say the word “sovereignty”, remainers are quick to state that the UK and all members of the EU are separate and sovereign. I see, so, remainers count trade with the EU as a figure that represents the whole of EU members, i.e., £341 billion, but will not acknowledge the fact that £50 billion of that figure, around 15% is made up of German car imports into the UK, in fact the UK is German automakers largest market. So what? They say, as if £50 billion can be made up by selling elsewhere anytime the Germans feel like it. As if the Germans are doing the UK a favour. So what? Well, if trade with Germany was to CEASE altogether when the UK leaves the EU, the German car makers would go bankrupt. The USA would become Germany’s largest market, providing trump with an ace card that he would use to impose 25% tariffs on the ailing industry. To dismiss German automakers from any trade deal is simply wrong. They have already inputted into the Withdrawal Agreement ensuring their minimum requirement of a permanent Customs Union with the UK. That would be the backstop, by the way. German automakers are VERY concerned about any loss of trade with the UK and they will do everything in their power to prevent a no deal Brexit.
The same goes for The Republic of Ireland. Their agricultural economy would simply collapse in the event of tariffs being applied by the UK. If they lost access to the “land bridge” across the UK, the ROI would suffer massive damage to their economy. They would definitely be the biggest losers in this scenario. Is it any wonder that they came up with the idea of the backstop to keep the UK tied to the EU forever? A no deal outcome, could actually be an existential threat to the ROI economy.
The Netherlands, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and more, have a vested interest in ensuring a good trade deal is struck with the UK. Not any deal of course, but “the easiest trade deal in history”. That means it has to be FAST to ensure the absolute minimum impact on member states economies. If you think member states don’t count when it comes to trade, we can look at the Spanish orange growers insistence that a 16% tariff be levied on imports from non EU countries to protect their industry. The tariff was originally 3.2% but was raised to 16% after lobbying by Spanish orange growers, concerned that imports from South Africa would impact their industry. Spanish oranges are worth around £1 billion a year, but, the remainers argue, German automakers would be quite happy, if not delirious, to turn their backs on the UK’s £50 billion market? Seriously? That doesn’t even get close to being a valid argument. It is, in fact, a “unicorn”.
So, the fact is that the UK has not entered into trade talks yet, but the EU has now provided itself with all the ace cards, but only, if, the UK ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement. If ratified, the interests of exporting member states will been protected and if that means the UK suffers, then that is OK too. The only way to achieve “the easiest trade deal in history” is to leave the EU cleanly and move onto WTO terms while trade deals are negotiated. EU members will then, as always, lobby hard to get any barriers to trade removed. That is a fact. But remainers like to state that all trade with the EU will cease FOREVER should we leave without a deal. They state that planes will be grounded, trucks will be parked, holiday’s in the EU will be a thing of the past, the UK will lose £341 billion of exports. None of these things will come to pass. The EU member countries aren’t that thick. They will have a real beef with the EU Commission should any “punishment” lead to loss of jobs or downturns in economies.
For the UK, as Theresa May stated, no deal is the only way forward. It always has been.