Free trade agreements are the future of world trade
If Britain withdrew from the EU, far from being isolated,
it would enjoy the same status as many other countries.
British europhiles customarily disparage the idea that
the UK could profitably swap the EU Customs Union? Single Market for, say,
NAFTA the North American Free Trade Agreement.
the Continent, especially in France, the phrase “free trade”, and by extension
“free trade zone”, is regarded with contempt, whether you’re on the left or
right of the spectrum.
when Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked HM Government which non-EU countries the
EU had Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with, and which non-EU countries it was
negotiating FTAs with the answer delivered by Baroness Symons on 5th
July*, was unexpectedly long, filling almost a whole page in Hansard as she
reeled off lists of countries from Albania to Zambia.
turns out that EU countries trade now with 22 non-EU countries via FTAs,
and is currently negotiating FTAs with another 69. That makes 91 in
total – just about half the countries in the world.
So if, on withdrawal, the UK decided it would be
in its interests to have an FTA with the EU, far from being “isolated”; it
would be in the same situation as literally dozens of countries.
The EU’s not the only RTA-Regional Trade
Association- to be enthusiastically negotiating FTAs around the globe. EFTA, the European Free Trade
Association, of which the UK was a founder member but which had to withdraw
from when it joined the “Common Market”
(with disastrous results) in 1973, is also at it.
EFTA, whose current members are Norway, Switzerland, Iceland
and Liechtenstein, and which is far wealthier than almost all the EU
countries, has 13 FTAs in force at the present and is negotiating FTAs
with another 9. It has also
announced its intention to enter into FTAs with a further 26 countries (including
the USA Japan, China, and Russia) making a total, if they all come off of 48.
Building on Success
the USA, building on the success of NAFTA (Canada, the USA and
Mexico), has signed 15 FTAs and is negotiating or has announced its
intention to negotiate FTAs with 11 countries, making 26 in total. By
2005 it plans to complete negotiations on the Free Trade Area of the Americas
(FTAA), creating a 34-country free trade zone of 800 million people stretching
from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
In addition, the US-Middle East Trade Initiative
announced a few months ago by President Bush will involve setting up bilateral
FTAs with each Middle East country, the aim being to consolidate them all into
a multilateral agreement by 2013.
FTAs (where each participant keeps control of its own trade policy) and customs
unions (where each participant abandons control of its own trade policy,
adopts a common external tariff and accepts whatever trade policy the customs
union decides) have to be notified to the World Trade Organisation (WTO),
which monitors them for non-discrimination against third parties and other
the 243 RTAs in force in March 2002, reports the WTO, 175 were FTAs (72 per
cent of the total); only 22 were customs unions (9 per cent of the total). The remainder were
categorised as “partial scope” agreements.
from the EU, most customs unions involve poor developing countries in
Africa, the countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, a few
developing South American countries and the Gulf statelets.
Outside Europe, no major-league industrial
trading nation-not the USA, not Japan, not South Korea, not Singapore, not
China, not Australia, not Chile – has chosen to conduct its trade via Custom
the EU model of conducting trade-via a tightly-regulated customs union with a
Commission, Parliament, Court of Justice, acquis communautaire etc
–etc-is so marvellous, why have no other advanced countries sought to
explanation is that having seen the EU model n action in succeeding WTO
negotiating “rounds” (the latest one being the failed session in Cancun), with
all its shenanigans and poor economic performance, they’ve simply
“Thanks, but no thanks”.
Who can blame them?
*Hansard, House of Lords, 5th July 2004, Col
WA 63-65, HL3440 &HL3441
eurofacts the 30th July 2004 – Vol 9 No20/21
* * *
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION to the EU
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE FOR THE
TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS
WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
Home Rule for Scotland
HOME RULE for
[All underlined words have a separate
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY
THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?