The United States trade negotiator Michael Froman, who is leading the talks for the USA on TTIP and lead the talks on TPP says the USA would not be positive towards negotiating a separate free trade deal with UK if the country votes to leave European Union.
These are the the first public comments from a senior U.S. official on the referendum.
Froman’s comments undermine Tory and UKIP Eurosceptics who have long argued that the UK could ‘go it alone’ and negotiate trade deals with the USA and the rest of the world on the strength of UK brands.
Coming fast on the heels of David Cameron’s rubbishing of the idea that the UK could operate outside of the EU as Norway does and benefit from EU membership (Norway has to pay almost the same monies to the EU as it would if it were a member – and has no seat at the table when agreeing trade deals or legislation); and the laughable idea that we could operate like Switzerland does with the EU (an endless number of trade deals all dependent on the rule that if Switzerland brakes deal one they could lose the lot!) or become some form of low tax enclave such as Singapore, operating offshore from the EU – Foreman’s warnings should not go unheaded.
The USA is the UKs biggest export market after the EU, buying more than $54 billion in goods in 2014.
“I think it’s absolutely clear that Britain has a greater voice at the trade table being part of the EU, being part of a larger economic entity,” Froman said – adding that EU membership gives Britain more leverage in negotiations.
“We’re not particularly in the market for FTAs with individual countries. We’re building platforms … that other countries can join over time.”
If Britain left the EU, Froman said, it would face the same tariffs and trade barriers as other countries outside the U.S. free trade network.
“We have no FTA with the U.K. so they would be subject to the same tariffs – and other trade-related measures – as China, or Brazil or India,” he said.
The US has warned that the booming UK automotive export market would be hit with trade tariffs. British built premium cars exported to the United States, such as those made by Jaguar Land Rover, and the iconic BMW Mini would face a 2.5% tariff and could be at a disadvantage to German and Italian-made competitors.
These are facts that need to pointed out to the Brexit Brigade who delude themsleves that plucky little Britain can go it alone – and that other countries could not turn their backs on the UK (or would not dare to).