Britain’s Chief Trade Negotiator: UK Has ‘Very Little Influence’ on World Trade While an EU Member

Ross Setford/Getty Images
Ross Setford/Getty Images

Britain’s chief trade negotiator has revealed that Britain has had “very little influence” on world trade as an EU member-state, with the bloc subjecting it to a Common Commercial Policy and external tariff regime.

While EU loyalists have long argued that the United Kingdom wields more so-called “clout” via the bloc’s combined economic might, Brexiteers have long pointed to the country’s seeming inability to shape the trade agenda in Brussels, which has been either unable or unwilling to strike agreements with British trade partners such as the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and only recently concluded a highly complex deal with Canada.

Now Crawford Falconer, the former New Zealand ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) who was headhunted by the British government to help shape the independent trade policy which Britain should be able to regain following Brexit — provided the British government does not sign a withdrawal treaty with the EU like the one offered to Theresa May, which would have left Brussels substnaitally in control of British trade policy — appears to have sided with the Brexiteers in an interview with Sky News.

“I always found it anomalous from the outside that the world’s fifth largest economy, as the UK has always been, really had very little to say, very little influence on the international trade system,” said Mr Facloner.

“I wasn’t surprised, I knew that that was the de facto case but that will change and has changed already [with Brexit],” he added.

“To me that change was self-evident and to everyone else I worked with from around the world. And that is changing rapidly now and will change ever more rapidly.”

Australia and New Zealand have both been pushing hard for a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom once it has taken back control of its trade policy, as has the Donald Trump administration in the United States — already the United Kingdom’s single-largest trade and investment partner.

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