What future for Britain as the EU strikes a trade deal with Japan? | Letters

Alex Orr and Anne Loveday say the UK will lag behind, while John Mills says US negotiators will hold the whip hand

As the Brexit divisions are laid bare in the House of Commons, with the Conservative party split apart, there was more than a little irony that the EU and Japan signed a huge trade deal this week that cuts or eliminates tariffs on nearly all goods (Report, 18 July).

The agreement covers 600 million people and almost a third of the global economy. It will remove tariffs on European exports such as cheese and wine, and Japanese carmakers and electronics firms will face fewer barriers in the EU.

While the UK prepares to leave the EU, the world’s second largest economy representing 500 million people, we will also have to renegotiate about 80 trade agreements either in place or partly in place that we currently enjoy by being members of the EU.

This includes the agreement with Japan, which if we want to protect thousands of jobs at car companies like Nissan and Honda, the UK will have to replicate. If not, we could clearly see investment flowing to countries in the single market.

Leaving the EU means not only removing ourselves from the largest single market in the world, with the economic benefits this brings, but we will also have to begin the lengthy negotiations to strike bilateral trade agreements with those very same countries the EU already has links with and which we currently benefit from.
Alex Orr

• The historic EU-Japan trade deal raises two questions in the context of Brexit turmoil: first, is it not profoundly foolish to walk away from a group of countries that wields this negotiating power? Second, why were we not told this deal was in the pipeline (it has taken five years) at the time of the referendum?

Brexit means Britain will be left in the position of an outsider looking on at an illustrious and successful neighbour, while we are torn apart by factions trying to make an unworkable policy work.
Anne Loveday
Iskaheen, Co Donegal, Ireland

• A free trade deal with America is being held up as the holy grail of our post-Brexit future (PM to push Trump on trade deal, 13 July), despite the fact that we already have a very strong trading relationship with that country and any deal would only have a marginal effect on our GDP. Meanwhile Donald Trump comes to the UK, shows contempt for the prime minister’s EU strategy and is fawned over in return. Nobody should be in any doubt that, once we have left the EU, we will be needy, craven and desperate to do a deal and we will get shafted by the American negotiators.
John Mills

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