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I stated my hypothesis poorly. I was not meaning the "pre-EU/pre-Common Market" nirvana, I was asking about the treaties in place a couple of years ago when the UK was in the EU. Pre-Brexit. I thought there were a bunch of treaties, hundreds, that defined that relationship?
by asdf on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 12:31:50 AM EST
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That's called "EU membership". Having decided to leave, by definition the UK isn't going to have that.
by IdiotSavant on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 09:37:03 AM EST
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The UK, as part of the EU, had dozens of FTA's with third parties, and the UK is busily doing copy&paste jobs on these to replicate them as an independent entity. It rather makes a mockery of the Brexiteer claim that independence would enable the UK to negotiate better FTA's on it own behalf, but provided (say) Japan is prepared to give the UK the same terms of trade as an independent entity that it enjoyed as part of the EU, then no problem.

However you can be sure if the UK does manage to negotiate better terms in any instance, the EU will not be slow to demand similar terms for its members. Also the EU has been known to drive hard bargains, so a third party unhappy with some of the terms of their EU deal are unlikely to offer similar to an independent UK.

So far the sum total of FTA's negotiated by the UK to replace their pre-Brexit FTA's as part of the EU have been insignificant in terms of the volume of trade they cover compared to the UK's trading relationship with the EU. The real jewel in the crown would be an FTA with the USA, and here the election of Biden doesn't help. The "Irish" caucus on Capital Hill will be sure to veto any deal if Irish/UK trade is still problematic or the "border down the Irish sea" isn't working out.

But a lot of this is almost by the way. The UK has had huge trade deficits in goods with almost all its trading partners (bar Ireland) for the past 40 years. The only way it has remained solvent is by having large surpluses in financial services exports. I cannot understand the Johnson government almost total neglect of this sector, which is so much more important in terms of employment and government revenues than fish. No deal on goods probably means no accommodation on services, and so with that goes the UK's last claim to be a world leading economy.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 12:18:20 PM EST
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