Australia wants Britain outside EU Customs Union

TAP – I was at school with Lecky Downer.  He’s an easygoing likeable person and pretty trustworthy – as political types go.  It’s good to hear a positive intervention in favour of Brexit.  If tariff barriers between the UK and Australia would come down, we could source foods of all kinds from Australia like we used to do before the EU stopped all the trade.  Fruits, meat, vegetables, wool and much else besides.  Likewise we could sell many more things to Australia than we currently do – like electric cars maybe.  Aussies are culturally very close to Brits, and we would benefit greatly from opening up the barriers between us that we’ve both endured since 1973.

If Lecky’s available any time, I might try and get a game of tennis with him like we did in the good old days.  He always used to win but that wouldn’t matter.

Australian High Commissioner: UK will become “irrelevant” if it does not leave EU customs union

Speaking at an event yesterday, outgoing Australian High Commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, argued that “for us in the outside world, Britain would become at least in economic terms irrelevant to international diplomacy” if it remains in the EU customs union. He continued, “I have been surprised that there is any debate at all about whether Britain should remain in the customs union. Imagine a great country like this having its trade policy determined by bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels without the British government or the British people having any say whatsoever in international trade policy. Imagine free trade agreements being negotiated by the EU without having any say as to the terms of those agreements, yet being subjected to the terms of those agreements.” He added, ”From Australia’s perspective, we would willingly give away any tariff protection and provide improved access to our services market as well as create a better investment environment for British investors.”

Separately, writing in The Daily Express, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson writes, “Don’t listen to those who say that nothing will change during [the transition period]. We will immediately regain the ability to negotiate, sign and ratify free trade deals – in short, to make our own way in the world. These freedoms are vital because 80 per cent of the world economy – and 90 per cent of world economic growth – lies outside the EU. Look at the booming markets of Asia…Remember our old friends in the Commonwealth, who are gathering in London next month for one of the biggest summits in our history”.

Elsewhere, in a piece for The Daily Mail marking one year until the UK’s formal exit from the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May writes, “I have an ambitious vision for that future. It’s a future in which we trade freely with friends and partners in Europe and beyond and build on the progress we’ve made as a country over the past few years. The economy is growing more strongly than many predicted, the deficit is down by three-quarters, employment is at a record high. It is our job to secure a Brexit that not only locks in that economic success, but makes our country even more prosperous and secure.” She also writes, “I am determined that as we leave the EU, and in the years ahead, we will strengthen the bonds that unite [our four nations], because ours is the world’s most successful union.” This comes as May will today visit England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to mark the date.

Meanwhile, May will also say today that the UK “leads the world in international development action.” According to The Times, the UK would continue contributing more than £1.4 bn a year to the EU’s foreign development aid budget, if it helps securing a better Brexit deal with the EU.

Source: The Australian, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Times

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