“Very good” Lib Dem statement on EU-Japan trade deal

The Lib Dems were praised today by Politics.co.uk editor Ian Dunt over shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake’s comments on the Brexit Bill.

Tom said:

Last year the Government estimated that an EU-Japan Free Trade Deal  could be worth £5 billion annually to the UK economy – roughly £200 per household. Sadly, by the time the agreement with Japan gets fully ratified, it is very likely the UK will be out of the EU.

Despite a change in public opinion, the Prime Minister still insists on pursuing an economically illiterate hard Brexit, which will cost us this deal as well as access to the EU’s existing pool of trade deals with 54 other countries.

“Whilst the EU continues to strike trade deals with major economies around the world, Liam Fox and his team have so far failed to secure a single commitment, despite racking up 240,000 in taxpayer-funded air miles.

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20 Comments

  • Great statement right up to the last paragraph, for all it’s many faults the ability to be part of deals like this were a big reason I voted remain. Regarding that last part, it is my understanding that Liam Fox is unable to formally negotiate any deal until we leave the EU so any public commitment would be both worthless and could further antagonise the EU side in what is an already fraught process…

  • Richard Underhill 7th Jul '17 - 9:24am

    Part of the Leavers’ case in the 2016 referendum was that the EU was failing to sign any trade deals at all, for instance Gordon Brown had withdrawn a frustrated Peter Mandleson from his post as trade commissioner, given him a peerage and put him in the cabinet at trade with numerous other titles. In the referendum debates he was distrusted, despite his expertise.

  • I mostly agree with Steve Way, I also think the last paragraph is a little weak, primarily because it doesn’t focus on the obvious: the EU-Japan agreement is simply an addition to the existing 54 agreements, negotiated over several decades on the premise that the EU is a market of 500M and not 60M people – Liam Fox and colleagues have yet to even publish any meaningful details about the new trade zone they wish to establish, resorting to the pitch of the hustler – it will be wildly successful you/we will get fabulously rich, can’t give you any details, you must act now, just mortgage your future and sign up here.

  • jayne Mansfield 7th Jul '17 - 10:26am

    I really can’t get too exercised about the Tories and the EU negotiations.

    I may have something about the MacCawber about me but I don’t think that Brexit will happen , or at least the hard Brexit tat is claimed. Therefore I am happy to sit back and watch the Tory party fail on its own terms, not only fail but tear itself apart.

    Professor Curtice’ analysis of the last election demonstrated that the Tories benefitted from the elderly, and UKIP and Brexiteer voters whereas Labour benefitted from the lower middle class demographic, young professionals and remain voters.

    Jeremy Corbyn’s approach seems to have been a masterclass in politics where timing is all . Whatever his own past views, which he has been willing to modify when it comes to other issues, there is no doubt where his political support lies. I actually expect pressure to remain in the EU to come from the electorate including his own supporters, as the penny drops amongst increasing numbers of non- UKIPPers, that Fox al are leading the country to destruction.

    Corbyn’s own views about the EU (7 out of 10) reassure those like myself who do not have a Panglossian view of the EU and want real reform.

  • A few brave Brexiteers are on the tinternet spieling we could have a deal like this, bless they don’t understand how long it takes or how weak we are. Strangely enough none on here, what has gone wrong, it’s not the same without one of them stating Brexit is Brexit and they need us more then we need them, German cars you know. Has the penny finally started to drop has, reality bitten them (bet that hurt), we will see I suppose.

  • Hi, this is my first post here so I apologise if it’s not reet good.

    I’m a working class Lib Dem voter who works in the automotive industry, this deal seems to me that it would be very dangerous to the UKs automotive sector should we ultimately leave the EU. I think there are wider repercussions than just Toyota and Honda potentially leaving for the EU. I have a sense that if their supply chain (and in all likelihood it would) follows them then so could the volume side of JLR and MINI could leave keeping only their design studios here. It surprises me how little noise the industry’s trade unions are making about this.

  • Not to mention that the terms negotiated by the EU will be better than those negotiated by the UK alone, due to the former’s stronger bargaining power.

  • Shush Thomas you know how facts upset them. They live in a fact free zone and scream every time they see one “Brexit means Brexit, be off vile fact”.

  • Sue Sutherland 7th Jul '17 - 12:12pm

    Steven great to have you on board. I think you’re right and would love to know if it was just our stance on Brexit that made you vote for us?

  • Steven,
    I suspect the unions feel they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The brighter ones know it will end badly but are afraid to upset their Brexit voting membership, the rest just don’t seem to have worked out how bad it will be yet. I suspect like Wilkins Micawber they believe “something will turn up”, the problem is the something is quite likely to be a P45 and at that point it is far too late.

  • @Sue. No I’ve always voted Lib Dem and will continue to do so, social policies matter greatly to me and the party is always in line with my general thinking on those issues.

    @Frankie. In my experience my union will back whatever Lab policy is at the time. This is a time where they should be breaking away from that and yet both the unions and Labour are in thrall to each other.

  • Forgot to say, thanks for the welcome!

  • My understanding is that it is only a political agreement that has been reached and that a final deal is still a way off. That is not to disregard the previous posts. For my sins (my wife’s actually) we tend to get the Torygraph each day. She has the main sections, I get the sport and business. It is interesting to see how the commentators (Roger Bootle, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, etc.) are shifting their positions on Brexit. Feature today indicating that EU migration is drying up in the face of their domestic economic recoveries and urging TM to tear up her negotiating strategy. The worm is turning.

  • jayne Mansfield 7th Jul '17 - 4:11pm

    @ Frankie,
    Some minds may be changing, but according to polls, for what they are worth, the Liberal Democrats are not benefitting from the position the party took on the EU. The party’s stance appeared disrespectful and undemocratic given that the electorate had just made a choice. The insults and derogatory comments , for example, that some who voted Brexit were easily gulled, seemed designed to harden attitudes and entrench views, rather than soften them.

    In my view, people needed, and still need time to watch, listen, and make up their minds about who was telling the truth in the pre-vote period. and whether the Tory party can be trusted with their futures.

    The pressure for a re- run of the vote needs to build up and come from the electorate, not a political party. The role of a political party should, I believe, be to act if and when there is a changed mood.

  • @jayne Mansfield
    I agree. We will not get any credit for being the party of ‘I told you so’ IF and its a big if, opinion does change we need to be very careful how it is handled.

  • Arnold Kiel 7th Jul '17 - 5:43pm

    The “Trade”-terminology in this debate points to its fundamental flaw. For a meaningful number of Britains to prosper, they have to “Make” things and services which other countries want to buy. In the sectors where the UK is globally competitive, e.g. financial services, music and British luxury car brands (none of the companies are British anymore), Brexit will produce little upside, because the non-EU world already buys as much as it wants. Brexit will not improve the UK’s competitiveness in sectors where innovation or productivity lags. Quite to the contrary: loss of single-market scale, research-cooperation and skills-access will further reduce competitiveness.

    The only area where cheaper (and likely lower-standard) sourcing could produce wealth-effects is agricultural products, but this would be outweighed by increased farming subsidies, unless one wants to desert rural Britain.

    Conversely, Britain’s atractiveness to other countries as a “trade”-partner is determined by what they can additionally sell to the UK. And that is not much: American or Indian cars? GMO soybeans? American chicken? The EU will always be before the UK in line.

  • Steven makes an important point about the importance of supply chains.

    For example the first major pro-Brexit “coup” for Theresa May was the announcement that Nissan would make it’s next two models in the north east to smug smiles in Torydom.

    But a friend who knows a lot of people at Nissan says it’s all stuff and nonsense and that they are locked in for their next model because so much of their supply chain is nearby that they have no practical choice. For the model after that? Well, it’s a politcal promise signifying little.

  • Jayne,
    Firstly Labour is facing both ways, how long can they keep that up and which way are they going to fall after they tumble off the fence they are on.
    Secondly if Brexit goes wrong finding anyone who owns up to voting that way will be harder than you think. In fact I’d go as far as to say you’ll swear blind they all must be dead, emigrated or have been abducted by aliens; after all failure is always an orphan and people will do many things to avoid being associated with it. I can hear them now, I didn’t vote leave, it wasn’t my sort of Brexit, I didn’t vote at all, a brave Brexiteer I was not; I can see a life time of tongue biting ahead of me as they rewrite history.

  • jayne Mansfield 8th Jul '17 - 9:17pm

    Frankie,
    It is not over until the lady with a high BMI sings.

    When people come to the conclusion that they have made a wrong decision, especially when they have been vociferous in their previous certainty, one has to let them save face. It doesn’t matter that one remembers their previous stance, far better to take quiet pleasure when they change it.

    We are one year on, and the tories, and let us be plain about this, this is a mess of their making, should be given enough rope, so that those who thought they were competent to discover otherwise.

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