Rather than a deal tying us into EU structures, let’s embrace a Brexit on WTO terms

Rather than a deal tying us into EU structures, let’s embrace a Brexit on WTO terms

Many businesses are concerned that Brexit on WTO terms would be less than ideal. I’ve heard claims of catastrophe and others of years-long hangovers as a result, but my experience suggests that whilst there may be some short-term turmoil the outcome will be very much more positive.

We’re a third-generation family-run business which supplies de- and anti-icing fluids to the aviation sector. And when winter hits, it’s our business which keeps the majority of UK and Irish airports open. We’ll continue to be the global leader in this safety-critical task after Brexit, and we’ll continue to serve markets across the world. That won’t change, regardless of the type of connection we choose to have with Europe.

It has been claimed UK-EU air traffic will grind to a halt after 29th March, but this simply won’t be the case. I understand the sector better than most, and I know that if planes could suddenly not land on either side it would potentially cost billions of pounds each day. It’s absolutely not in the EU’s interest to halt air traffic.

Likewise we’ve been warned that trade and cross-border commerce will stall; however what will actually happen in the event of a WTO-terms Brexit is just that – we’ll continue to trade with the EU on WTO terms.

Our company operated successfully before we joined the EU, and I know that we’ll do so, well after we leave, continuing to sell products from the UK, to Dubai to New Zealand. In fact, I chose to back Brexit in the 2016 referendum precisely because I was excited by the global opportunities it would offer for future trade deals.

My concern has been that the Government’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement, and particularly the so-called Northern Irish ‘backstop’, would hinder the UK’s future trading options and tie us into the Single Market and Customs Union. This would effectively stop us making free trade deals with the rest of the world, and we can’t allow that to happen.

After all, the UK has always been an outward-looking, global, dynamic trading nation, and it’s right that we seek the greatest freedom and opportunities available to us. This is a once-in-a-generation chance and one I hope that we seize.