Wilson – EU-Japan Trade demonstrates how short-sighted it would be to pull out of the Customs Union

During the agreement today of the EU-Japan trade deal, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, criticised those who, in the context of Brexit, had suggested that “it isn't worth being in the European Union, as it is easier to do global trade outside of the EU.”  

Mr Tusk said that the EU was getting more and more engaged globally and emphasised that Japan was the first in a line of free trade negotiations the EU is currently discussing, including with the Mercosur countries (six countries in South America, including Brazil and Argentina); Mexico; Australia; and New Zealand. The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, hailed the agreement as showing “Japan and the EU as standard bearers of free trade.”

Commenting Phil Wilson MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:

“The trade agreement between Japan and the EU, which will boost the UK’s trade with the world’s third largest economy, demonstrates how short-sighted it would be for the Government to pull the UK out of the Customs Union on the dubious promise of increased global free trade.

“The Government’s current march towards a hard and destructive Brexit puts at risk over fifty preferential trade agreements which the EU has negotiated around the world, which will soon include Japan.

“Unless we secure the same access to existing trade agreements, any new deals Liam Fox manages to negotiate will be about as much use as a pair of broken chopsticks in a sushi bar.

“The Government’s own figures estimate that the EU-Japan trade deal will boost the UK economy by £5 billion a year. With this benefit expected in early 2019, at the same time the UK is set to leaving the EU, Ministers need to provide concrete evidence that their new global trade deals will offset the substantial losses from leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market.”   


Notes to editors

For all media enquiries and bids, call Alex Clifford on 07824 645378. When using this quote, please reference the Open Britain campaign. 

Donald Tusk’ statement at today’s EU-Japan Summit can be found here:  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/07/06-tusk-remarks-press-conference-eu-japan-summit/

Shinzō Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, said today at the Summit: “On Brexit, we are following with great interests the negotiations which started last month between the EU and the UK. We will be attaching significance to transparency and predictability being secured in the negotiations. At a time when the international community is facing a period of changes, we are focusing on co-operation with Europe, with whom we share basic values …Today’s Japan-EU was ground-breaking in that it brought the Japan-EU strategic relationship to a new level.Japan and the EU as standard bearers of free trade and as leaders of universal values will hand-in-hand continue to be powerful contributors to the peace and prosperity in the world.” https://tvnewsroom.consilium.europa.eu/event/eu-japan-summit-2017-17cf0/press-conference-prime-minister-abe-17d0e

Last year, the Government estimated that the EU-Japan trade agreement would be worth £5 billion a year to the UK economy or an average of £200 to each British household:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/eu-and-japan-commit-to-political-agreement-on-free-trade-deal