Wednesday, March 02, 2016

How long would a trade deal between Britain and the EU take to agree?

There has been some debate on how quickly Britain could establish a trade deal with the EU if we vote to leave, with one side suggesting it might take ten years and the other describing this as "clearly ludicrous."

Of course, the very people who are usually quick to complain (and have a very good point in complaining) about how long it takes the EU to agree all its' other trade deals seem to think that if we vote Leave the EU will agree one with us quickly while the people who think it will take a long time are not exactly falling over themselves to acknowledge that taking a long time to agree trade deals is not exactly the quintessential measure of brilliant success.

Alistair Meeks at Political Betting has written two excellent articles on the EU referendum in the past week, and one of them which you can read here looked the EU's recent major completed trade deals and how long it took to negotiate them (not as straightforward as you might think because when something started and when it was completed in these cases is often a matter of opinion.)

This is a table he produced:

And he inferred that

"From this you will see that every criticism about the EU moving slowly is abundantly justified. The quickest fully completed negotiation since the turn of the millennium took four years. The average completed negotiation took 7 years 11 months.  This average, of course, is biased in favour of the speedier negotiations because the slower negotiations that broke down are excluded on this basis."

Alistair's conclusion was that it was entirely plausible that a UK  & EU trade deal following Brexit might take the better part of a decade to sort out.

Which is not exactly a stunning advert for the organisation. But if we do vote to leave it, we might be wise to assume that sorting out our new trading arrangement with them might indeed take that long. There have been plenty of scaremongers on both sides during the EU referendum debate, but this isn't one of them.


Jim said...

How long would a trade deal between Britain and the EU take to agree?

- short answer - it depends what type of trade deal.

Jim said...

How long would a trade deal between Britain and the EU take to agree?

- Short answer, it depends what type of trade deal.

Chris Whiteside said...