EU Myth Busters Number 1

Myth: We will lose out more on trade than the EU will.

BUSTED: Currently most of our trade (57% of exports and 66% of imports in 2016) is with countries we have EU trade agreements with, not under WTO rules. We buy more from the EU than we sell to them  (their trade is at a higher risk than ours is)

Myth: We don’t trade on WTO terms at the moment

BUSTED: We already trade with 24 significant economies on WTO rules including USA, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Russia and Saudi Arabia

Myth: Only WTO rules impose tariffs on imports.

BUSTED: Average WTO tariffs include 20-30% on processed foods (the EU tariff we pay on tinned peaches is 70%)  Iron Steel and Copper is 2%  (the EU have allowed the Chinese to flood the EU with steel at below production costs) hence the damage to British Steel

Myth: There will be massive drug shortages due to WTO Rules

BUSTED: Drug shortages have very little to do with Brexit and more to do with reckless stockpiling.  We buy pharmaceuticals from all over the world not just Europe and most standard pharmaceuticals have a 0% tariff under WTO rules.  The CEO of Calais port authority has categorically said they are prepared for a no deal and there will be no delays at french ports

Myth: Tariffs would damage our auto-manufacturing industries.

BUSTED: Vehicles have a 9% tariff under WTO rules that would make German cars more expensive and less attractive to purchasers.  (potentially very damaging to the German economy).  It would make any vehicles manufactured here cheaper to export

Myth: Our economy would fall-off-a-cliff if we left without a deal

BUSTED: The majority of the chaos stories around WTO trading emanate from European Law speciailsts (no vested interested there then).  Since No Deal has been on the table as a genuine option investment in the UK has significantly increased.  CEOs of Next, Jaguar Land Rover , Ryan Air and other multinationals have said it will not have a significant impact on their business because they have prepared for it and it will provide opportunities that we do not have at the moment as EU members

Myth: There will be food shortages, fuel rationing and no cancer medication on November 1st.

BUSTED: Nothing would happen on November 1st 2019.  The UK is a member of the WTO in its own right, although as an EU member we do not currently take our seat.  That could be reinstated  re-establishing our autonomy from the rest of the EU. In particular, we have to agree on “schedules” for tariffs on goods. The government has stated that in the short term it would simply replicate the schedules of the EU to smooth our transition The UK could alleviate the impact of WTO rules on consumers by reducing or eliminating tariffs unilaterally – as long as this is done in a non-discriminatory way, this would be permitted under WTO rules On November 1st the government could remove tariff on over 1200 food and clothing items making our cost of living cheaper immediately

Myth: Environmental and employment rights protecting workers would suddenly cease to exist.

BUSTED: This is complete fantasy!  The most probable outcome is that immediately and for the next 2 years at least we would maintain everything to EU standard automatically because there would not be enough parliamentary time to change that quantity of legislation through our normal channels

Myth: People would not be able to travel through Europe freely without challenge.

BUSTED: You cannot do that now, you still need a passport.  Some countries may require a visa or additional information about your reason for visiting their country but you will be able to travel.  Your rights traveling by air or rail will not change when we leave the EU.  You will still need to arrange travel insurance and emergency healthcare insurance as people do now.  Your passport will need at least 6 months before it expires for seamless travel.


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