Daniel Hannan: Let's trade with the world, not just the EU

The MEP, a leading voice for exiting the bloc, claimed people criticising the Government’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) simply wanted Brexit to fail, reports the Express.

This week, it was revealed the Government has held informal talks about going the TPP, a powerful trade group of Pacific nations.

And Mr Hannan said it was the right move, at a time when the “world’s centre of gravity” is moving towards the east.

He pointed out the 21 countries in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation now make-up more than half of worldwide trade.

Writing in the The Telegraph, he said: “During the Brexit referendum, Remain campaigners kept saying that Britain exported more to Belgium than to the whole of China.

“This is true - and that's the problem. China is, in GDP terms, adding a Belgium and a Luxembourg to its economy every year.

“According to the IMF, 90 per cent of world growth this century will come outside the EU.”

The staunch Brexiteer said Britain’s close links to nations like Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong made such a move the obvious choice, despite the naysayers.

He wrote: “The idea of Britain joining the TPP has prompted much Europhile snottiness.

“Tim Farron says it ‘smacks of desperation’. Simon Fraser, recently the top mandarin at the FCO, calls it ‘cloud-cuckoo land’.

“It's as if Remainers want Britain to fail after Brexit. Why else oppose something as uncontroversial as extending our trade opportunities wherever we can?

“Their cynicism finds little echo in the region. Over the past two months, I have spent time in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Chile.

“In all of them, politicians and businessmen are enthusiastic about closer trade links with Britain.

“In Hong Kong, interestingly, the pro-Beijing faction is even keener than the democrats, seeing such ties as a step towards a UK-China trade deal.”

And he claimed the UK should also consider signing up to Australia and New Zealand’s trade deal alongside other territories.

He said: “The EU is a child of its time. In the 1950s, regulation was ubiquitous, freight costs were high, and trade was dictated by proximity.

“Distance matters less in the internet age. In any case, the flight from London to Beijing is shorter than that from Sydney to Beijing: these supposed geographical barriers are often psychological.

“The trouble is that our officials are approaching Brexit as an exercise in damage limitation, seeking to salvage what they can of existing arrangements. We need to lift our eyes to more distant and more opulent horizons. Britain would be the first member of the TPP not to border the Pacific Ocean or the South China Sea.

Liam Fox's Department for International Trade is said to be developing the proposals to join the group which lost its largest member - the United States - when President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement last year.

The 11 remaining member states include Australia, Mexico, Singapore and Canada.

Trade Minister Greg Hands said there was no geographical restriction on Britain joining trade groups.

He said: "Nothing is excluded in all of this.

"With these kind of plurilateral relationships, there doesn't have to be any geographical restriction."

Source: express.co.uk

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