EU Single Market or Trump’s ‘business for idiots’ guide

America’s new President has publicly stated that he wants a trade deal with the UK; the UK Foreign Secretary has said that countries are queuing up for free trade deals. These are potentially, for me, the most worrying aspects of the UK’s foreign relations and overseas economic prospects.
President Trump, in his business life, has been declared bankrupt six times. When someone goes bankrupt they effectively walk away from their debts. The losers are all investors and customers – the people who trusted the businessman. This is Trump’s current legacy.
Boris Johnson was a journalist and was sacked twice for blatantly lying and allowing his lies to be published. If, in my years as a reporter and then journalist/Business Editor, I had knowingly lied, any of my editors would have drummed me out of an industry where truth was the most valuable treasure: that is what we sought and strove for. How can a Prime Minister appoint a self-confessed liar to such an important role at a time of national and global insecurity?
I’ve considered what this ‘trade deal’ that President Trump wants. Trade agreements between countries, and even between providers and customers, are based on a lot of give and take. The aim is to find ways in which the sum of the two parties is greater together than they are individually. The UK wants more jobs, more investment, more financial gains and national enrichment; the USA probably wants the same; Donald Trump, wants a deal where he can announce he’s ‘stuck it up someone’. There is an incompatibility here.
Trump has even come out against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, even though, in its present form it would tie in nicely with his wish to lead the USA as if it was one of his, non-bankrupt, hotels or golf courses.
The European Union has a different algorithm and is a complex amalgam of currently 28 countries: 27 in two years. Trade agreements within the Single Market have required long, often tortuous negotiations over many years and involved every partner. These have resulted in a Single Market that has worked well and continues to do so. Differing nations have their own systems and ways of manufacturing or providing services, but the Single Market means they have access to 350 million potential customers. Among the negotiations have been wide-ranging agreements on elements that are vital for long term stability: health and safety, worker protection, product standards, after care and service. Without these the consumer is scuppered – try taking a dodgy bottle of perfume back to the guys sitting on the pavement you bought it from under the promise that it was Poison or Chanel!
The alternative is a maniacal, helter skelter rush based on short term greed. Britain will sink deeply into the Trump-style business world of courageous winners and ‘sad’ losers, and we as a nation could well be a loser, especially if the negotiations involve a proven liar and politicians who have no grasp of national or global economics.
The Single European Market is a classic example of consensus, co-operation, broadly-based relationships, resulting in workable, long term growth. There will be no EU for the UK on April Fool’s Day 2019; there will be no trade deals of any kind for at least two years after that; any trade deal with the serial bankrupt President of the USA will mean we lose or it will be a disaster.

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