‘No deal’ merely means trading with the EU on WTO terms – and trade on WTO terms is the norm

‘No deal’ merely means trading with the EU on WTO terms – and trade on WTO terms is the norm

The alternative to Theresa May’s deal is not no Brexit, but no deal. Britain could leave the EU on 29th March 2019 without a deal and trade with EU member countries on World Trade Organisation terms. These are the terms on which we trade with non-EU countries already, without falling off any cliff. No deal is Brexit. Her deal is no Brexit.

‘No deal’ merely means trading on WTO terms. Trade on WTO terms is the norm. 90 per cent of world trade is done on WTO terms. 60 per cent and rising of our trade with other countries is done on WTO terms. Our exports to the countries we trade with on WTO terms have grown three times as fast as our exports to the EU’s Single Market. Our businesses trading with the USA trade on WTO terms and we run a trade surplus with the USA. Our businesses trading with the EU trade on its Single Market terms and we run a trade deficit with the EU. WTO rules give us full access to the EU’s Single Market. Access does not require membership. It would be illegal for the EU to restrict our access to the Single Market.

No deal is far better than the alternatives, like Canada Plus, the Norway option etc. With no deal, there is no punishing transition period and no £39 billion given away and Brexit would come two years earlier. The average tariff British exporters would pay is 4 per cent. But applying EU tariffs to our imports from EU countries would yield possibly £13 billion, which we could use to compensate any firm losing out.

The French authorities in Calais have no intention of imposing a go-slow on British vehicles, rightly calling it ‘economic suicide’. Deliberate delays would breach three treaties – the WTO treaty, the Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Lisbon Treaty, which requires the EU to behave in a neighbourly way towards adjacent states. Do pro-EU enthusiasts really think the EU would use illegal bullying to punish us? If so, how can they urge us to re-join this body?

The Government, pro-EU MPs and peers, the stock markets, most business leaders and much of the media have been waging an incessant and hugely costly campaign informing us that leaving with no deal will be a disaster. Typically, Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan casually referred to the “financial Armageddon of no deal” just last week (27th November).

We all remember the non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq that the Blair Government and much of the media warned us about. The same people now warn us about the mass economic destruction that awaits us on 29th March 2019.

Robert Azevedo, the WTO’s Director General, said after our vote that Britain’s leaving the EU will be ‘relatively straightforward’ and ‘smooth’:

“The UK is a member of the WTO today, it will continue to be a member tomorrow. There will be no discontinuity in membership… Trade will not stop, it will continue, and members negotiate the legal basis under which that trade is going to happen. But it doesn’t mean that we’ll have a vacuum or a ‘disruption’ in terms of trade flows or anything of the kind.”

We demand the Brexit we voted for: Leave on 29th March, keep the country united, keep our £39 billion the EU wants and trade with its members on WTO terms, as we and others trade with the rest of the world.