Shanker Singham, the head of International Trade Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, has suggested the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan would remove any independence from British trade policy and would belittle the benefits of Brexit.
Mr Singham, who is a noted author and adviser to governments, said that it will become incredibly difficult for the UK to alter any form of agreement we come to with the EU:
Some people have suggested we can be in the EEA…. and then sort of seek to diverge if we want to at that stage…It’s very difficult once you’re locked into an arrangement with the EU, it’s incredibly difficult to change it.
The consequences of remaining with the iron-clad restrictions of Chequers he said, would almost entirely rule out any possible trade deal with the US or allow us to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Prime Minister’s previous vision set out in Lancaster House last year, provided more independence and much more clarity according to Singham.
Yet he still remains optimistic about Britain’s ability to strike free trade deals, should the Prime Minister seek stronger policies:
Sometimes we look at ourselves and think, ‘we’re a second-rate power in decline and we can’t do anything’…that’s not how the rest of the world sees it, and it’s not what they expect.
Mr Singham encouraged Britain to be more optimistic about our place in the world, especially given our strength in the services industry and given the promising up-lift in economic figures this week.