Open Europe Report Rejects Hammond’s Services Sellout

A report published by the Open Europe think tank this morning rejects Philip Hammond’s plan to sell out the City and keep close ties with the EU for financial services. Hammond is embroiled in a row with the Bank of England after attempts by the Treasury to give up control of regulations and make the City a rule-taker. Open Europe rightly argue:

“The UK is strongly services dominated (around 80% of our economy) – we cannot simply be a rule-taker in key industries such as financial services. The approach on services therefore should be about managing divergence.”

The second section of the report calls for Brexiters to compromise on goods:

“The Single Market in goods is far more developed than services and was a significant achievement of British EU membership. We believe it makes sense broadly to maintain alignment with its rules. The EU is our most important goods’ market and the most highly-regulated sectors – electrical, automobiles, and chemicals – are the areas which we trade most with the EU and are growing the fastest. Although there might be some benefit from regulatory divergence, we judge that the Government should commit to maintaining the acquis on goods.”

Making the case for more compromise from Brexiteers, Open Europe director Henry Newman, a former Gove adviser, argues: “Open Europe’s blueprint recognises that the UK is too big an economy to be a rule-taker in areas like financial services, while accepting that we can get a very good degree of access in goods by giving up a limited amount control.” To Guido this almost seems a compromise too far. Brexiters have already demonstrated huge pragmatism over the last two years. They do not need to give up more control…

Britain’s £40 Billion-a-Year Untapped Trade Potential

Britain’s untapped trade potential will comfortably offset any effects of Brexit on exports to the EU, new research by the think tank Open Europe has found. Their new report in conjunction with Prosperity UK has located £41 billion-a-year of under-performing non-EU export markets. Remarkably, Britain is currently on track to under trade with India, Canada and Israel by £10 billion-a-year…

Membership of the EU has stopped the UK trading freely with faster-growing non-EU countries, though the report argues we should not focus solely on Free Trade Agreements, instead seeking bilateral investment treaties and targeted agreements to address particular trade issues. It argues for greater engagement with India, Canada, Israel and China prioritising UK service exports. These are practical, sensible solutions to make Brexit work from Open Europe’s director Henry Newman, who says:

“With the right trade policy, the UK can seize the opportunities that Brexit will create, while compensating for its impact on exports to the EU… whatever Government is formed after 9 June, it should prioritise trade with India, Canada, and Israel, and – in the case of services – China. The UK needs a trade policy to fit the future and by 2030, our model indicates, the UK will have £41 billion of untapped trade potential with the top ten countries for goods and services.”

The parlous state of Britain’s exports was immediately identified by Theresa May’s government when they took office. Liam Fox, far from twiddling his thumbs as some tiresome Remainers would have you believe, has spent most of his time at DIT trying to get exports up to shape. There is a lot of work to be done but this will be key post-Brexit…

Gove SpAd Henry Newman New Open Europe Director

Guido understands former Michael Gove SpAd Henry Newman has been appointed as the new Director of the Open Europe think tank. He replaces acting directors Raoul Ruparel, who left last year to work for David Davis, and Stephen Booth, who becomes Director of Research. Brainbox Newman is a sound hire, he has a very strong knowledge of Whitehall and is respected in the Lobby. Before advising Gove he worked for Francis Maude at the Cabinet Office during the reform of trade union Pilgrims. Open Europe is drying out, under Newman expect them to embrace leaving the EU and promote a liberal, outwardly-looking Brexit. Congratulations…

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