Democratically-elected leaders in Europe still fundamentally fail to comprehend that 52% of people in Britain have voted to leave the EU. I am sure that like when Denmark voted to leave the EU in the early 1990s and then voted to rejoin the EU after they offered them a ‘fairer’ deal, EU leaders are privately hoping for a second referendum in Britain to accept the overwhelmingly pathetic terms of their ‘new deal’ which looks like nothing more than Cameron’s deal 2.0. Merkel and Juncker should be disappointed if that is the case. Liam Fox has only been Secretary of State for International Trade for less than a month, and already he has already overseen some substantial free trade deals that could truly benefit Britain in the long-term.
During the EU Referendum, President Obama warned Britain that they would be ‘at the back of the queue’ if they left the EU and decided to try and draw up a free trade deal with America in the event of a vote to leave. Stronger In warned throughout their entire campaign that leaving the EU would make it incredibly difficult to negotiate free trade deals with other deals, particularly the EU despite their significant trade deficit with us. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, warned that if Britain left the EU warned that Britain would not be able to ‘automatically’ draw up new free trade deals in the event of a leave vote.
Yet despite Stronger In’s pessimistic and false arguments and Obama’s empty threats, many countries across the globe are embracing their individual opportunity to trade with Britain. Fox estimates that Britain will ultimately build trading zones that will be ‘ten times bigger’ than the EU. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggested that he wants to complete a free trade deal with Britain after he phoned Theresa May to congratulate her on her recent appointment as Prime Minister, showing that Brexit is a unique opportunity to embrace new trading arrangements with our Commonwealth partners. Furthermore, Turnbull has announced that Australia will team up with New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, to negotiate new trade and immigration deals since Britain voted to leave the EU.
However, despite all of Obama’s rhetoric about Britain being at the ‘back of the queue’ for a free trade deal if we voted to leave the EU, Obama reassured Britain that the ‘UK and US will remain indispensable partners’ regardless of the result. Obama is open to the idea of a free trade agreement between Britain and America that resembles that of Norway’s. Since the results of the leave vote were announced, Trudeau has announced that: “We will continue to build relations with both parties as they forge a new relationship.” Japan, which was also equally pessimistic about Britain leaving the EU, has also joined the growing list of countries demanding a trade deal with Britain despite concerns about whaling. Therefore, all of the doom-and-gloom predicted by those who supported a vote for Britain to remain in the EU in regards to trading have been proven wrong, so far.
Of course, the list of countries offering to strike up free trade deals with Britain does not stop there. Iceland was one of the first countries to offer Britain a free trade deal prior to June 23rd. India, a country which the EU has consistently failed to draw up a free trade agreement with since 2007, is excited about embracing a free trade deal with Britain since Brexit. Mexico claims it already has a draft for a free trade deal. South Korea and China are two other Asian countries lining up to draw up free trade deals with Britain.
With all these golden opportunities for Britain outside of the EU, we need to stop treating June’s result as if the Remain side won the referendum. The recent deal that the EU is offering Britain, which offers Britain access to the Single Market at the price of having to pay into the EU Budget and accept an emergency brake on immigration, proves what utter contempt Europe’s leaders have for democracy. Despite all the Remain camp’s warnings about how long free trade deals take to be negotiated, we cannot fully take advantage of these new trade deals until we have left the EU. Lukas Mikelionis of Heatstreet predicts that the EU’s Single Market will consist of less than 16% of the world’s trade by the end of this decade. Recently, I have argued for a Lichtenstein-style arrangement post-Brexit, but if the EU cannot draw up an adequate deal with us before we trigger Article 50, then ultimately we should walk away from the EU altogether. With their credit-rating rapidly shrinking, an Italian banking crisis looming its ugly head, a refusal to reform freedom of movement in the face of terrorist attacks, and their share of global trade decreasing, we have to ask ourselves: is it worth trading with this protectionist bloc? Forget Europe; the world is our oyster.