A not entirely accurate map

A letter to the Daily Telegraph:

SIR – The Trump administration’s move towards trade protectionism shows the benefit to Britain of being a member of the EU customs union.

Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary and arch-Atlanticist, unsuccessfully lobbied Washington for an exemption of UK steel from punitive tariffs. By the effort of Cecilia Malmström, the EU trade commissioner (representing all 28 EU members), such an exemption was secured. It was prolonged earlier this week for another month.

The EU has joined a select group of trade partners strong enough to resist American economic bullying. Beyond the EU, it includes only Nafta partners Canada and Mexico. South Korea, Brazil and even Japan have been forced to accept tariffs or are agreeing painful bilateral concessions.

Despite the rhetoric about global Britain, had we faced this crisis alone, outside the customs union, we would likely have been treated like Japan (the third-biggest global economy compared to Britian’s position as sixth).

The EU customs union is the only effective protection against US bullying today.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP (Lab)
Lucy Anderson MEP (Lab)
Richard Ashworth MEP (Ind)
Catherine Bearder MEP (Lib Dem)
Molly Scott Cato MEP (Green)
Charles Tannock MEP (Con)
Paul Brannen MEP (Lab)
Richard Corbett MEP (Lab)
Seb Dance MEP (Lab)
Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru)
Neena Gill MEP (Lab)
Julie Girling MEP (Independent)
Theresa Griffin MEP (Lab)
Mary Honeyball MEP (Lab)
John Howarth MEP (Lab)
Wajid Khan MEP (Lab)
Jean Lambert MEP (Green)
David Martin MEP (Lab)
Linda McAvan MEP (Lab)
Clare Moody MEP (Lab)
Alyn Smith MEP (SNP)
Catherine Stihler MEP (Lab)
Derek Vaughan MEP (Lab)
Julie Ward MEP (Lab)

Until we actually leave the European Union, on freedom day, the EU has sole competence over all trade matters. Thus, and quite obviously, the EU can gain an exemption from certain US tariffs and the UK cannot. Because we’re not the people who make deals on trade, they are.

You’d expect a gaggle of MEPs to know that but apparently not.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The disillusioned Ann Coulter wrote yesterday that, at a rally last week, Trump has gone from promising to protect American “jobs” against foreign value, to “we’ll get the foreign workers to do your jobs, to help you in the fields.” So he once did seem to think imports were an act of war, but it might be that he is completely less conceptual than Kanye West is becoming.

    Nevertheless, Trump threatened high tariffs not because he wants high tariffs but to get everyone to the table to negotiate or renegotiate a deal that lets him take credit for everything the economy does in the next two years (despite minor collateral damage to US business). This is the “bad cop” that seems ready to torture the young suspect if he does not confess. Fortunately, there are “good cops” Kudlow and Mnuchin telling foreign trade reps to play along because everyone will win in the end.

    For the MEPs to reduce this all to “American bullying,” against which the UK must seek the safety of the herd, is the typical creation of a foreign bugbear by politicians desperate to hang onto their seat in a legislature, despite a term delivering nothing of value to their constituents.

  2. By the way, the MEPs’ assertion that, “had we faced this crisis alone…we would likely have been treated like Japan” does not mean they are unaware that Britain is not yet independent of the EU. They are arguing that, in the hypothetical case that Britain were already independent of the EU, Britain would “likely” have been treated poorly. I don’t see why this is likely. The EU got its stuff exempted from the initially universal tariff as the EU had not harmed the US, and the UK would have made the same argument, successfully, as ultimately it is only South Korea and red China from whom America is out to compel changes to the terms of trade.