Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Claims EU membership helps UK win trade deals ‘just a myth’

Post Thumbnail

Far from opening up markets around the world to businesses from its 28 member-states, the EU has proved less successful than small states like Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea and Chile in forging free trade agreements, said the report published by thinktank Civitas.

Author Michael Burrage argued that British businesses have sacrificed many years of freer trade in exports of goods and services because of Britain’s membership of the EU.

Supporters of Britain’s continued membership of the EU in the upcoming referendum argue that it helps the UK win access to markets overseas. The Britain Stronger in Europe campaign argues that “negotiating as part of a 500 million-strong economy … gives us clout we could never have on our own. Thanks to our membership of the European Union, we benefit from free trade agreements with 50 countries around the world”.

But the new report notes that the 55 countries with which the EU currently has a free trade agreement have a combined GDP of just £4.7 trillion and do not include economic giants like the US, China, Japan, India and Australia. A deal negotiated with Canada has not yet come into effect.

By contrast, the total GDP of nations with which Chile has struck free trade agreements amounts to £40.9 trillion, with South Korea £28.6 trillion, with Switzerland £27.9 trillion and Singapore £27.2 trillion, including deals with some of the world’s biggest economies in each case.

About 90% of the agreements of these four smaller countries include services, compared to 68% of those negotiated by the EU, the report found, adding that this was especially harmful to the UK because of its strong service sector.

Mr Burrage, a former research fellow at Harvard University, said: “This data gives no support to the view that small independent countries are less able to negotiate with large economic powers, or that the latter are less willing to negotiate with them, and no support either to the view that they will be slower in concluding such agreements.

“Those particular disadvantages for smaller, independent countries are clearly imaginary, and along with it surely the notion that the UK would be unable to negotiate agreements on its own.”

BSiE dismissed the report as “economically illiterate”, arguing that it did not take into account the quality of deals negotiated. Individual countries were typically offered inferior terms and lower levels of access for their goods and services than those secured by the EU, they said.

Lucy Thomas, deputy director of Stronger In, said: “This is the latest in the baseless claims coming from Leave campaigners about what fantasy deals might be on the table if we leave Europe. If we look at what our major trade partners like the USA, India and China have said, all three have made clear that they value the UK remaining part of the EU. Indeed the US trade representative said they wouldn’t be prepared to deal with individual countries when it comes to negotiating free trade deals.

“This is an economically illiterate piece of research, which fails to take into account the terms of the deals they examine. The Leave campaigns need to stop scaremongering and come clean with the public about what relationship we would have with Europe – our biggest customer – if we went out on our own.”

But Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign for UK withdrawal, said: “Pro-EU campaigners like to recite the myth that we only have clout in trade negotiations as part of the cumbersome EU, but this research blows that lie apart.

“It is clear that remaining in the EU is holding back our ability to trade globally. If we vote Leave, we would negotiate the trade deals we need with growing economies that our EU membership is preventing us from. Those who suggest we can’t negotiate with the world are doing Britain down.”