The FACT is that the UK is able to trade all over the world, wherever and whenever we want to and we are getting more successful at doing so.
There is No need to leave the EU to achieve this.The EU currently has PreferentialTrade Agreements (PTAs) with 52 countries, and it is negotiating trade agreements with another 72 countries. It is an undeniable FACT that if the outcome of the Referendum is to leave the EU then the UK would have to re-negotiate or start new bilateral negotiations on 124 trade agreements.
This is quite apart from the crucial one of the need to redefine our trade status with the EU since the UK will be outside the Single Market of 508 million people.
Currently the top-50 trading partners of the UK account for 92% of all our trade, 41 of them do have some trade agreements of their own or ongoing negotiations with the EU.
Eighteen of them are in the EU single market; one (Norway) is an European Economic Area country; another (Turkey) has a customs union agreement with the EU, eight countries have existing EU PTAs in place and 13 countries are currently negotiating EU trade agreements.
So the question that the Leave campaigners have not attempted to answer is exactly how long do they reckon it will take our small UK Trade Negotiation team to get through all of that?
The FACT is it will take YEARS. That is years of uncertainty for our economy and businesses, years of uncertainty over jobs, investment and growth.
Remember all the while that it will be going on it will also be necessary to do at the SAME time the negotiations for the UKs extraction arrangements from all the current treaties and agreements that we have with the EU under Article 50. These have been built up over decades!
At present as members of the EU, the United Kingdom enjoys a raft of ‘Most Preferred Nation’ trade agreements with other countries around the world - 53 additional trade agreements outside the EU.
As a result of having this better access to Rest of World (RoW) markets, the UK has been increasing its exports in terms of value to nations all around the world. While we export mostly goods (around two thirds of UK exports) to the EU nations, our exports to RoW are mostly made up of financial services.
So the FACT is that the UK is able to trade all over the world, wherever and whenever we want to and we are getting more successful at doing so. There is No need to leave the EU to achieve this.
Leaving the EU will make all our trading more difficult, more expensive and much lower in volume and value.
It is a FACT that if we leave the EU we will have to renegotiate all those agreements.
The question is will the trade deals that the UK Governnment will possibly be able to be achieve outside the EU be better than what we have currently have within a union of 28 nations with a combined population of 508 million people and a GDP of just over €19 trillion?
Is it really in any way sensible to believe that the UK with a population of 65m people and a GDP of just under £ 2 trillion could do better on its own? Carry more influence and clout with the big trading blocks of the world?
Yes we might be able to trade more freely but it would mean higher tariffs on our exports until new agreements are negotiated and it's unlikely that any new agreement is going to be better than what we already have.
Only one country has ever withdrawn from the EU and that is Greenland
Greenland originally joined the then-European Communities with Denmark in 1973. A referendum was held in 1982 called the “Greenlandic European Economic Community membership referendum”. The referendum was called over a dispute over fishing rights.
Greenland voted to leave but it took Greenland (a country of 53,000 people) 3 years to extricate itself with an exit agreement (The Greenland Treaty) which was finalised in February 1985. That agreement was only about the exporting of fish to the EU!
Three years years!!!
Remember the UK has a population more than one thousand times larger, and exports more than 4,500 different types of product to the EU.
Be in no doubt it is a FACT that it is going to be longer than the 2 years allowed in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty for the UK to complete all exit arrangements.
If the UK decides to follow the example of Greenland we will be facing interesting times, a decade or more of negotiations.
In the meantime we all will be paying a heavy price through uncertainty, higher living costs, fewer jobs, and tougher times.