Why did we voluntarily given up better trade deals with our nearest neighbours in the EU?

From: Stephen Hardy, George Close, Robertsbridge

Friday, 8th October 2021, 7:31 am
An EU Flag with a Union Flag (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Recently the UK Department for International Trade released figures about the trade agreements that the UK had negotiated with other countries since Brexit was announced. There are 66 deals which mirror the deal the UK already enjoyed when it was a member of the EU. Two new ones where the fine details still remain to be sorted are with Japan and Australia, but informed opinion says the net beneficiaries for both deals are Japan and Australia, not the UK.

Of the roll over deals, the three deals which represent the largest amount of pre-existing trade between the two countries are Switzerland ( £34 billion p.a.) Norway (£26 billion p.a.) and Canada ( £17 billion p.a). Given the populations of those countries are: Switzerland 8.6 million, Norway 5.4 million and Canada 38 million, you can see that Britain’s trade with nearer (even non-EU) European countries is much greater and much, much easier to achieve than trading across oceans and on different continents.

So why, if we want our country to prosper in trade, have we voluntarily given up even better trade deals with our nearest neighbours in the EU?

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