I came across an interesting press release today, from cross-party pro-Brexit campaign, Get Britain Out. Their press release focused on biased Brexit coverage from Sky News, specifically relating to a piece called “Brexit Forensics”, written by their political editor Faisal Islam.
In the piece, Islam discussed a report released by Dover District Council about the implications of a No Deal Brexit – specifically, how the M20 motorway would turn into a 13-mile lorry park as a result of checks needing to be carried out on goods that enter the UK.
But Get Britain Out rightly points out that Sky News has completely avoided the immediate opportunity of trading under World Trade Organization rules. It seems like Sky are, in essence, aiding the government in their plans to scare the people "witless", in hope that they’ll support the Chequers deal.
The press release outlines the reality of a No Deal Brexit that operates under World Trade Organization rules:
“The UK will still be a member of the WTO after Brexit, meaning the EU will be unable to intentionally discriminate against UK products without just reasoning. Given the UK has committed to maintaining high standards after Brexit, Project Fear reports like this are far-fetched, and are only aimed at scaring the Great British Public.
The WTO’s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, for example, ensures regulations and inspection procedures must only be applied to meet health and safety standards, and must be removed if the scientific evidence is not sufficient.
The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is in place to ensure trade between neighbouring countries remains as frictionless as possible. As both the UK and the EU are signatories to the TFA, this agreement commits both sides to coordinate their activities and facilities in such a way so as to promote cross-border trade.”
That’s pretty conclusive, really. And it’s handy to know, if you didn’t know already. The doomsday scenarios surrounding the No Deal Brexit scenario would be accurate if the European Union really did have free reign to punish us and discriminate – but they can’t, and they won’t.
First off, we know it’s in their own interests to trade with the UK. Almost 14 per cent of Irish exports went to the UK in 2015, along with 9 per cent of the Netherlands’ exports and 7.4 per cent of Germany’s exports.
And for a long time, the UK has been among the less-than-half of EU member states who were net contributors to the EU budget.
Consistently, the UK has proven to be one of the most important economic forces in Europe – and that’s not about to change. For this reason – along with the fact that the WTO wouldn’t allow it – the EU is not going to be able to punish the UK in trade. They’ll continue trading with us if they know what’s good for them, and the queues down at Dover are unlikely to occur.
Are you getting sick of Project Fear 2.0, yet?