Sunday, 17 February 2013

Free trade...just do it


I gather that we're (by which I mean our EU overlords) going to be chatting to Barak over the pond about a "free trade agreement":

It is good news that the United States and the European Union have confirmed that they are going to start formal talks about a new free-trade agreement. That President Obama announced the move in his State of the Union address reflects a profound personal evolution on the issue. 

We should all get terribly excited at the prospect of (following tortuous and seemingly endless negotiations) a deal that will get the damned Yankees to lift their tariffs on our stuff. Indeed we're told that lifting those tariffs is great:

...removing tariffs is predicted to generate an extra £115 billion within five years for both sides.

Think of the economic growth, the jobs and the businesses that will come from this trade! Consider the wonders that a transatlantic free trade zone would bring!

It's all nonsense - pretending that somehow we should care about what we export to the USA. What we should care about is the reason we have trade - so we can buy the lovely stuff they make over in Yankeeland. We don't need negotiations all we need to do is scrap our tariffs to reap the economic benefit of trade. Goods that are currently made more expensive by tariffs will be cheaper, domestic producers will be spurred to greater efficiency and innovation once they're kicked blinking into the sunlight of a free trade world.

And it really doesn't matter a jot whether the Americans do likewise.

Go on EU - just do it. The people will benefit and, while there'll be a bit of grumbling from agribusiness, from textiles folk and other protected industries, the positive effect on the economy will be palpable. We don't have to sign a treaty to get that £115 billion boost. All we have to do is scrap tariffs and other protectionist measures. Simple really.


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