24 February 2019
Brexit is a massive opportunity for Britain, and also for its friends, allies and trading partners around the world, argues John Longworth. Photo: Reuters
Brexit is a massive opportunity for Britain, and also for its friends, allies and trading partners around the world, argues John Longworth. Photo: Reuters

Why Brexit is a gift to the world

On March 29, 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. It will be a momentous occasion, not just for the UK and the EU, but for the world.

Politically, Britain will be a beacon of light to other countries around the globe. It will demonstrate that the nation state is alive and well. That, despite the best efforts of a mendacious and protectionist EU, in cahoots with sections of a “Luddite” British establishment, democracy and the will of the people can win out against the odds. It will uphold Britain as a leader of democracy, and the mother of Parliaments.

Britain will have taken control of its laws and courts, its money and trade and its borders and migration policy. The really exciting thing will be what we intend to do with this new found liberty. The UK is set to boom economically and culturally, and this provides a profound opportunity for our friends and trading partners around the world and, particularly, in Asia.

The leading economists’ group, Economists for Free Trade, estimates that Brexit will provide additional growth of 7 percent of GDP, which is like improving growth by a third every year for fifteen years. This will accrue through trade deals and tariff removal, the repatriation of fisheries and farming policy, the return of the UK’s. net contribution to the EU, a whopping £11 billion per annum, and the introduction of better regulation.

The EU itself has reportedly estimated that the adjustment of just seven EU regulations would benefit British business to the tune of £6 billion.

A booming Britain provides an export opportunity for Asian countries, and Hong Kong, with its historic links, and with the rule of law and language in common, has a particular opportunity. As indeed do Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

Trading and cultural links should be to there also for China, South Korea and Japan.

Britain is a net importer of goods and food and a net exporter of services. The rapid creation of trade links through trade arrangements for both goods – including food – and services, will lead to benefits and wealth creation for all. Britain will be open for trade deals and investment, open for business.

Furthermore, the UK will have the opportunity to unilaterally remove tariffs currently imposed by the EU on goods, including food, coming in from countries outside the EU. Although the average industrial tariff is only around 3.5 percent, the tariffs on food are between 20 and 70 percent, and on some consumer items around 20 percent (eg. trainers and flat screen TVs). Many of these the UK does not produce. This is a great opportunity for our friends and trading partners overseas and would reduce the cost of living in Britain and boost disposable income and thus the economy.

While we may initially impose tariffs on automobiles, the removal of tariffs on auto components will help make the UK sector more productive and create value. Again, a great opportunity for Asia.

The UK manufacturing sector will benefit from both a competitive currency for some time post Brexit, and relatively more expensive EU goods. Those looking to invest in the UK will benefit from a booming UK industrial and services sector and a buoyant post Brexit stock market.

The knowledge based economy in Britain is second to none. We have world-leading universities and schools, healthcare producers, media and arts and, of course, professional services, IT and financial services. All will be looking to partner around the world.

The City of London is the world’s leading financial center with deep capital markets, technology, expertise and English Law. It is already demonstrating its ability to reach out way beyond Europe, to Africa, the Middle East and Asia and with a new found regulatory freedom and an ability to innovate it will be let off the leash. Again, a big possibility for cooperation and trade exists.

With a new global vision and a willingness to reach out to friends old and new, Britain will once again appear on the world stage. Through our ties via the Commonwealth, opportunities for trade and cooperation will arise. The Queen is the head of state of fifteen countries around the world and these should certainly have a special place in migration and border policy. Britain is a tier one military power and a nuclear power, with a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. With such influence, friends and allies can benefit as our focus shifts.

All in all, Brexit is a massive opportunity for Britain, but also for our friends, allies and trading partners around the world.

– Contact us at [email protected]


Chairman of Leave Means Leave, and formerly Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (UK)

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