The government has decided that in the event of a no deal Brexit some 90% of import tariffs would simply be abolished – or, given the mooted temporary nature, reduced to zero. How excellent of course, and what an argument in favour of a no deal Brexit. We’d actually end up close to the only trade policy that has any sense whatsoever, unilateral free trade.
A prize that’s well worth having and not just because it would piss off the federasts so much. It’s also alarmingly close to the Patrick Minford ideal – that we abolish all 100% of our import tariffs and set all quotas to infinity. Something that he calculates will grow the British economy by some 3%. And yes, that is after the effects of all we lose by leaving the EU. It’s even after the effects of their still imposing tariffs upon our exports.
We get richer by not charging ourselves for buying imports. So, why not not charge ourselves?
The government has announced that most imports into the UK would not attract a tariff in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Under a temporary scheme 87% of imports by value would be eligible for zero-tariff access. At the moment 80% of imports are tariff free. Tariffs would be maintained to protect some industries, including agriculture. Beef, lamb, poultry and some dairy products would receive protection.
Quite why the farmers should continue to gain protection at the cost of the rest of us is uncertain. Well, not really, the 30,000 farmers have an entirely out of proportion political power.
Do also note what the BBC doesn’t tell us there. Currently 80% of imports don’t pay tariffs but under a no deal Brexit without our changing our rules near 100% of imports would pay tariffs.
We’ve also done this before. In 1846 when we abolished the Corn Laws. Entirely not coincidentally when the Industrial Revolution started to improve the living standards of the average bloke on the Clapham Carriage. The removal of the tariffs upon imports stopped the capitalists and landlords gaining all the benefits of economic change. And wouldn’t it be nice to do that again? For isn’t it the standard complaint these days that only the capitalists and the landlords get to swallow all the benefit of economic growth?