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TRIM Trade and Regulation

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David Ingall UK200Group Past President takes a look at TRIM Trade and Regulation

Following on from my previous blogs on the issues that might arise in a Referendum debate I am combining Trade and Regulation (basically law making) as I have come to the conclusion that really you, the reader, have to conduct your own research into all the issues. You need to get in and select your own facts before the distortion comes from the two sides, the pros and the sceptics. Additionally, we have little understanding of the value of the concessions which have been extracted by Dave from our European partners. We have to decide whether those concessions are worth anything and whether they are real. We also have to work out what we are not being told which might include concessions the other way that will only become apparent at a later stage. Don’t believe me? Think about what Ted Heath didn’t tell us about the concessions on our entry into the EEC that gave away our fishing rights and that we’d signed a treaty that could ultimately lead to us giving up our status as a separate self-ruling country. Not to mention that we could have a “back tax assessment”, as we got before Christmas from the EU, because we had performed better than other members. And has any politician ever publicly admitted how much of our sovereignty we have already given away by permitting majority voting on so many issues?

But let us return to our trading with the EU and how essential our membership is to our survival in the whole wide world. The judgement can only ultimately be made when we know what the alternatives in the event of a “No” vote might be. Would we be excluded from trading, without barriers, with the EU? If you take July this year, the top 5 countries for exports (taken from the HMRC website) were USA (£3.6billion), Germany (£2.4billion), Russia (£1.6billion), Netherlands (£1.5billion) and France (£1.4billion). That is a split of roughly 50/50 EU against the Rest of the World. Our imports from those same 5 countries were topped by Germany at £5.4 billion and £4.5 billion for Netherlands and France combined.

If the EU wanted to exclude us from the benefits of trading within the EU by imposing duties on our exports then we presumably impose similar duties on our imports and the major loser? Why Germany and one can reasonably suppose that puts us a strong position. Germany will not throw away a major export market. Though how the discoveries at VW will affect their car exports it is difficult to guess. So the way is open for an associated status allowing us access to the EU without membership. That is assuming there is a moderately competent negotiation team allocated to this matter.

There is nothing certain but Brexit is not the potential disaster trumpeted by the pro market team. It all depends on the negotiators and there lies the rub. Will the UK team go for the throat or are they going to be half hearted or perhaps find the excuse not to address this issue on the grounds that one should not presume we might come out? Brexit will also allow us to make new trade deals with other countries that suffer at the hands of EU protectionism, including parts of the Commonwealth. Listen to the sugar and banana producers on that subject. So the Remain team has to come clean and be open about those negotiations for concessions. How far did those negotiations going? Did they include what happens, if (and only if) the referendum comes up with a No?
Frankly the “concessions” offered have disappeared from public view in the debate so far and it is not surprising as they were not worth the paper they were written on. Certainly not written in stone and one could suspect the EU could easily sidestep any of them. Try to remember what your concerns are about our membership. Are they being answered in a clear and straightforward manner?

There is already discussion about the extent our laws are being dictated by the EU. A recent argument surrounded that division with the pros claiming only 9% of new legislation came from the EU whereas the sceptics are indicating that well over half of our new laws are generated from Brussels.

We have to recall that there is currently a court higher than our own Supreme Court and that has regularly handed down decisions at odds with our interests. The basis of our laws has developed over the centuries through the Magna Carta and Common Law (developed from the Saxons) and this is entirely different from how laws have developed on the Continent. That conflict between two systems creates great problems on its own.

What is the answer? The decision is yours. Currently the Remain campaign seems to be based principally on fear. The fear of change and the British disease of not wanting to rock the boat. We have had the temerity to ask, like Oliver, for more. What are the other EU members going to make of that? Here’s a thought, having now asked for more, if we vote remain are the others going to seek to exact their revenge, in one way or another? There’s a fear to contest with the Remain campaign’s constant stream of “total disaster” scenarios.

All that anyone can ask is that every voter thinks hard about the issues and seeks to look through the weasley words of the politicians on both sides. The UK200Group sponsored debate on 11th May will hopefully help where both sides have to put their respective cases under the full glare of the public.

Watch, think hard and think again and then cast your vote. You will be letting us all down if you opt out.

David Ingall
Past President UK200 Group



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