Tariffs would cost EU dear

Our Government has offered Brussels the deal of the decade.

They would be crazy to turn it down. The offer to continue tariff-free trade after we leave Europe is a great deal for the EU.

For tariffs would hit Europe's exports to us twice as hard as they would hit our exports to them.

Today we trade as part of the EU's Customs Union.

That means there are no tariffs or trade barriers between Britain and the EU. The EU are the winners from this.

They sell us £240billion of goods every year. In return, we export just £144billion to them. They sell £96billion more goods to us than we sell to them.

No free-trade deal would mean Europe's exports to us would be hit for £13.2billion of tariffs.

Meanwhile, tariffs on our exports to Europe would be just £6.5billion. The Treasury would gain more than £13billion a year. Enough to avoid raising taxes and allow more investment in our economy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's deputy Sigmar Gabriel says Brexit will be "much more difficult for the British citizens than for us".

The numbers say otherwise.

Tariffs would be particularly bad for German industry. German exports to the UK would face more than £3.5billion in tariffs, while our exports to Germany would suffer just £1billion in return.

Our top import from the EU is cars. The EU sells us £45billion of cars every year.

Ten per cent tariffs would make those cars far more costly, encouraging more consumers to buy British.

Right now, the EU enjoys a huge trade surplus with us — a surplus that would decline if EU trade became subject to tariffs.

The EU's failure to agree a trade deal would hit the member state of Ireland hardest of all. The Irish government has warned the end of free trade could see 40,000 people lose their jobs in Ireland.

The Irish economy would suffer, while their national debt would soar.

Two-fifths of Ireland's farming and food exports are to the UK. With very high agricultural tariffs, these Irish industries would be hit hard.

So why are we making this generous offer to allow tariff-free trade to continue after we leave the EU? Because it is in the interests of Europe and Britain to reach agreement quickly.

It gives businesses across Europe the certainty they want to plan for the future. It enables us to focus on the future of our nation, to secure new opportunities and partners across the globe.

Experience has taught us that free trade is always better than tariffs.

Shoppers ultimately foot the bill for tariffs, while everyone wins with free trade.

Free trade means the widest choice of goods and the best deals for consumers. It means more jobs and money in a dynamic and competitive economy.

Free trade will make it easier to keep things as they are in Ireland. Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and the Irish peace process will all benefit.

And it means keeping things simple — especially avoiding the risk of queues of lorries at the Channel ports and Calais. Our offer may work best for the EU, yet it will work for us all.

We are leaving the EU. And we want to leave the EU's Customs Union too, so we can trade more around the world. Rightly so. The EU's own figures show 80 per cent of future world economic growth will come from outside Europe.

In the past 40 years, the EU's share of the world economy has halved.

At the same time, fast-growing economies have doubled in size.

It's not hard to see where our long-term focus should be: Making closer trading ties with fast-growing countries.

That is why we need to take back control of trade, so we can do deals with growth nations. As they grow, we will grow. We don't have to shrink with the EU.

Tariff-free trade will work for everyone. This is the kind of grown-up deal that needs to be done.

There are now fewer than 600 days to go until we leave. They need to get on with it.

The numbers are clear that Brussels will be the bigger loser if they don't start to negotiate seriously.

That is why it would be an economically illiterate act of self-harm for the EU to reject our offer and turn down this deal of the decade.

Download the full report here.


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