The Institute of Economic Affairs this week published a report into the effects of Brexit on UK trade authored by Briefings contributor Catherine McBride. The report shows that claims that Brexit has had a detrimental effect on UK trade are not supported by the data, that there has been no discernible impact on UK-EU trade as a result of Brexit, and that Brexit presents opportunities to enhance, rather than hinder, UK trade.
UK and Polish defence industries have signed a £4 billion deal to provide Poland with a next-generation air defence system. It is the latest sign that the UK and Poland are developing strong bilateral ties, following a defence treaty in 2017 and the publication of a joint strategic plan earlier this year. The deal shows that Britain continues to play a major role in European security having left the EU.
Keeping Europe safe
The UK and US have announced a new strategic partnership aimed at making nuclear fusion technology commercially viable. The partnership aims to secure supply chains, standardise regulatory frameworks, allow shared access to facilities and promote collaboration amongst researchers.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced that it intends to set up an Industrial Alliance dedicated to small modular nuclear reactors in 2024, with the intention of “identifying enabling conditions and constraints, including financial ones, towards safe design, construction and operation of SMRs in Europe in the next decade”.
The European Parliament has suspended the immunity of four Polish MEPs from the Law and Justice Party from prosecution after they were accused of inciting hatred in election campaign videos. Immunity for MEPs is supposed to allow them to “freely exercise his or her mandate” without being “exposed to arbitrary political persecution”. Clearly, this does not extend to MEPs with whom a majority in the EU Parliament disagrees.
Who will protect MEPs from the EU?
Scottish salmon exports are thriving post Brexit.
It is a myth that Brexit has damaged UK German trade by Catherine McBride
The German Finance Minister recently told the BBC that the UK was buying fewer German goods because of Brexit trade ‘obstacles’. However, a review of the trade data shows this is not true. While the Finance Minister’s claim that large German multinationals such as VW and Mercedes are having trouble completing UK EU compliance forms is just silly.
In the long run, all trade is dependent on the economic prosperity of your trading partners. German GDP has been almost stagnant since the second quarter of 2022, consequently, UK exports to Germany were lower in 2022 than in 2019 and are expected to remain low in 2023. But our finance minister is not trying to blame this on Brexit trade friction.
Catherine McBride’s report on the state of UK exports gives a detailed account of the effects of Brexit. Remainer refrains about export disasters (taken up by the OBR, among others) are shown to be nonsense. Despite (or because of) Brexit, UK exports remain strong, even exports to the EU. But the report also identifies risks for UK legislators that must be avoided if Britain is to take full advantage of its independent trading status.
The first is rates of corporation tax. AstraZeneca has already announced that it is moving production to Ireland to enjoy lower rates of tax. As rates of corporation tax in the UK come closer to rates in other G7 economies, the UK risks losing its competitive advantage over rivals as large companies look for the most favourable environments for future investment.
The second is the reduction in oil and gas production. Until the UK significantly increases its production of green energy, reductions in the production of oil and gas are balanced by increases in imports. This is worse for the climate, and worse for the UK’s balance of payments. Manufacturers pulling out of the UK in search of a more hospitable environment would mean job losses and weaker exports with no observable benefit to the climate.
The third is exports of petrol and diesel-fuelled cars. While Britain has committed to banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035, many of Britain’s largest car export markets have no plans to stop buying them before 2050. If the UK doesn’t provide them, somebody else will, so the government would be foolish to wreck this important British industry in the name of Net Zero by banning the production of these cars as well.
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How you can help
There is much about Britain’s relationship with Europe that remains to be decided. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency. Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
Yet it is also time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU has benefited the UK economy and democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
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A Cambridge Philosophy Graduate