The Brexit No Deal Scare Stories Descend Into Drivel


A standard part of the Remoaner tookit is to start insisting that in a no deal Brexit then prices in British shops would soar. The argument being run is that if we revert to World Trade Organisation terms then we’d have to impose tariffs on imports into the UK. This is wrong – entirely and wholly wrong, as I’ve pointed out before:

To insist, meanwhile, that we must raise tariffs on the imports we desire is to misunderstand the WTO system. As a source in Geneva explains, Britain is a WTO member in its own right and will still be so even after Brexit happens. This means that we have promised not to charge higher than the allowable ceilings in tariffs upon imports from other WTO members. The Most Favoured Nation clause also states that whatever we do decide to charge ourselves, we must apply the same rate to the same products from all different WTO countries.

But not charging higher than the allowable ceilings does not commit us to charging anything at all. We can apply a 0 per cent rate (yes, I checked) if we so wish.

That is, being outside the EU means we do not have to charge the EU external tariff rates upon anything and can insist that we pay ourselves nothing on all sources of food from everywhere. Economists are reasonably certain this is going to lead to lower food prices in Britain.

But this idea that WTO terms means tariffs upon imports has just become such a usual insistence that it is descending into drivel. It’s being repeated by people who obviously haven’t the slightest clue:

So what would actually happen with no deal? These are just some of the consequences: Trade The UK would revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade. While Britain would no longer be bound by EU rules, it would have to face the EU’s external tariffs. The price of goods in shops for Britons could go up as businesses would have to place tariffs on goods imported from the EU.

Businesses place tariffs? Whut? Have we one of the arts graduates writing in the papers about economics again? A tariff is a tax, taxes are placed upon items by governments, not businesses. It’s up to the UK government – when we leave the EU at least – as to what tariffs there are upon imports into the UK. To think that business imposes them is to have descended into drivel as a result of pure ignorance of the subject under discussion.

But then this is where everyone is getting their information, from these mainstream media outlets, isn’t it? And yet still half the country is still insistent upon leaving.