LONDON — A think tank backed by prominent Leave campaigner Michael Gove claimed that Britain will create nearly 400,000 jobs if the nation decides to abandon the Customs Union, following a “hard Brexit.”
According to analysis of European Commission figures by Change Britain, given to The Telegraph, Britain would create 387,580 jobs in manufacturing and services, if it left the Customs Union and forged new trade deals with eight non-EU countries, such as Canada, India, and China.
It added that the UK would be a “beacon of global free trade.”
A “hard Brexit” would see the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal in exchange for total control over immigration. This would mean Britain would leave the single market and potentially become a member of the the customs union, which unifies import tariffs across members.
However joining the customs union would also mean that the UK cannot make its own free trade agreements with non-EU countries. The Change Britain analysis hinges on deals that various experts have pointed out will take a decade, if not longer, to happen. If they happen at all.
Last year, the EU-Canada free trade deal (CETA) nearly collapsed after seven years of talks. It was vetoed by the Belgian region of Wallonia, which eventually agreed to support the deal but only after all other parties agreed to a series of significant revisions.
In December, 2016, the British ambassador to the EU warned Theresa May’s government that it could take over a decade to finalise a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. He also warned the government that a proposed UK-EU trade deal could be rejected by the national parliaments of the other 27 states at the eleventh hour, as all EU members must approve a trade deal before it is finally signed off by Brussels.
Catherine Barnard, a professor of European Union law at the University of Cambridge said last month, “it’s grossly inconvenient for the UK, which is faced with exactly the same as what happened with the Canadian agreement and the Walloons.”
“The Walloons were eventually leaned on to change their minds, but that may not be so easy with the UK deal as it will be more contentious because it is likely to be more far-reaching, covering issues like financial services.”
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