Saturday, 23 June 2012

Commonwealth, not EU, is UK's Trade Future

Matthew D'Ancona writing in the 'Standard' this week on the inevitability of a Referendum, said
My sense is that the voters — about 50 per cent — who wish to leave do so not because they regard the EU as big and scary but precisely the opposite: as it has grown in size, it has diminished in relevance. It is as naff as a malfunctioning Betamax recorder. The danger is not colonisation by Eurocrats and the treachery of British collaborateurs; the danger is the EU’s obsolescence.
And it's this realisation, that the EU is actually past it's sell-by date, a useful Derby & Joan club for moribund economies but not the place for a dynamic nation like the UK, that now needs reinforcing. The EU isn't the future, it's the past. It's working population is ageing and shrinking, and the most it can aspire to in the future is second-rate economic status. Economist Ruth Lea points at the alternative;
As the forces of 21st century globalisation gather pace, the Commonwealth countries are expected to grow in relative importance, while continental Europe continues its relative decline. And there are sound business reasons to consider these countries as trading partners. In the longer term, the UK needs to shift its focus from a relatively stagnant Europe to the world’s future growth markets.
The potential advantages of a Commonwealth Free Trade Association are enormous; as the Royal Commonwealth Society say:-
A study commissioned for the CHOGM in 1997 found that Commonwealth economies experienced an average of ten to fifteen percent lower costs in doing business with another Commonwealth nation than with a non-member state. The various shared attributes created what the study’s authors named the ‘Commonwealth Effect.’

If the Commonwealth today were an economic bloc, it would be equal in size to the United States; it would have thirteen of the worlds fastest growing economies; it would possess most of the world’s leading knowledge economies outside of the US; it would have one third of the world’s population; and would represent forty percent of the membership of the World Trade Organisation.
With an overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon commercial ethos of 'a fair Go' and 'Can Do' rather than a Latin legalistic hell of bureaucracy and ineptitude, the world's fastest growing middle classes (the driver of consumer-led growth), and in many cases a common legal and commercial framework the manifold advantages of hitching our wagon to the Commonwealth couldn't be clearer.

15 comments:

Bob M, Harare said...

Absolutely right. Send us your money.

G. Tingey said...

Beware
The referendum, WHEN it comes, will have carefully rigged questions, to ensure our continued bureaucratric subservience to Brussels.
THIS is why politicians like Brussels - it puts them in charge & on the gravy-train - Irrespective of party,

right_writes said...

Mr R…

Did you copy that to Dave Cameron?

Because he obviously has no idea!

Simonf said...

I never tire of saying to people who proudly tell us we do 80% of our business with the EU - we'd better diversify pdq then. Sadly it usually falls on stoney ground.

right_writes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the "euro-crash" is only a symptom of a global problem.
Trade with the "commonwealth" may well be preferable to that with the EU, but since the oncoming financial crash will destroy all economies it makes little difference who you trade with.
To add to that you are ignoring the position of the UK in the league of indebtedness, that we are near the top.
People seem to think that government debt is bad in this country.
Compared to private debt it is not.
Depending upon your point of reference, or preference, private debt is from two to seventy trillion. Or more.
That's one of the problems with having so many "financial institutions" based here, mainly for tax avoidance reasons (I prefer to refer to them as "financial destitutions")
If the euro goes down this country is exposed to a considerable amount of debt via credit default swaps.
We may soon be the position of Greece, unable to even purchase fuel.

DeeDee99 said...

The potential advantages of a Commonwealth Free Trade Association were always there.

But our 'here today/gone tomorrow' political class (even more so now than in the 1950s/60s) can't see any further than the next election and their own bank accounts.

The Anglosphere/Commonwealth and a genuine Free Trade Association is a far better prospect than the sclerotic, dictatorial, bureaucracy-obsessed, protectionist EU. We should grab it with both hands.

anon 2 said...

Good article, Raedwald.

I agree with DeeDee and others who point out that the "advantages of a Commonwealth [FTA] were always there." Our problem is that we shouldn't have deserted our own people in the first place.

Even before we did, I remember someone's telling me that a nation who so treated its own was doomed to failure. [We were standing at the open doorway of a 707, somewhere out East... maybe in the late '60s.]

Furthermore, euroland in my time was backward (plumbing-wise, democracy-wise, communication-wise (though the germans had good roads), ...); and euros always hated us. To gravitate back towards them, and to let them control us, are the stupidest things we've done for the last 8,000-10,000 years.

Ah well. Some people will eventually make fortunes out of the stinking ruins.

And no one will ever admit that, although the Anglo-Saxon world was flawed, it upheld a better, cleaner, richer place. They wanted what we had; that's why they destroyed us.

anon2 said...

PS: I think I meant the "Anglo-Saxon-British world," there. I tend to believe that the genius lay in that mix, and in what it did with the ruins of Mediterranean culture ... rather than in anything purely germanic.

cascadian said...

I think the question you should be asking is-does the commonwealth want to deal with a sclerotic, bankrupt nation with a sense of entitlement?- I would hazard to guess the answer would be very negative.

Your desire to hitch your wagon to the commonwealth is understandable what is not credible is the idea that the commonwealth would want to drag so much dead weight.

Besides, do the British actually own anything that you sell anymore?

anon3 said...

cascadian, good points; maybe we should stop giving them billions in aid each year and spend it on ourselves instead.

cascadian said...

anon3, you need to define "them". No aid flowing to NZ, Australia or Canada, and India has said they don't want it, but your crazy politicians insist on pissing money away on vanity climate-related "development" programs.

Currently the country you emulate best from the old commonwealth is Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) which had the makings of a fine country, it was spoiled by marxist politicians who believed you can confiscate wealth of the productive and re-allocate it to the ruling classes. Your future is going to look a lot more like Harare rather than Sydney.

It seems to me you are a bit late in pretending you want to be a trading nation, you have no competitive advantages in raw materials, financing, energy production, transportation, manufacturing or educated workforce and no political will to achieve success. Geographically your future is tied to Europe-like it or not.

Raedwald said...

Cascadian - we make very fine Whisky, marmalade and saddlery, our biscuits are world class, our shirters and hatters second to none. What we have for export is class - desired by every newly wealthy turd-shiner across the globe. And we're pretty good at defence and aerospace, Hollywood and Bollywood come here for post-production, oh, and we're the world's financial centre.

We're really better off letting those generic nations lacking our particular competitive advantages do the tin-bashing, scrabbling in the dirt for ore and flooding their land for Hydroelectric schemes.

cascadian said...

Raedwald, what you say in the first sentence is true, but you are not going to cut into your deficit based on earnings from those goods alone are you?

I see no evidence of class being exportable, and while you promote the likes of Beckham as a gentleman that will remain so. There may be a small class of people who desire your hats and saddles, but again, the earnings from these are miniscule.

You are not good at aerospace and defence (with the possible exception of Rolls-Royce) any industries involved in these endeavours are essentially wholly-owned subsidiaries of the EU and UK governments, inefficient and reliant on European partners.

And good luck with the world financial centre, that is insolvent and fast disappearing.

Finally your last comment betrays why you will never see greatness again, while others can extract minerals and process them with cheap power, real wealth can be created. Meanwhile you can retreat to your unheated caves wearing your fine shirt and trilby and reminisce about affordable coal-fired and nuclear energy.

What you have described is a country in the final stages of decline, bitterly clinging to the last few luxury goods as proof of greatness. Unless you wake up and change I do believe your future will resemble Harare, I therefore understand your intemperate outburst, Britain needs more people to get angry.

DP111 said...

Sixty or so years ago there was some sense in forming an economic block based on geography. Nations that shared a common border could form a block and trade within it to the benefit of all.

But in the last few decades, not just travel times but more important, communication times and ease of access have increased by several orders of magnitude, while the cost has gone down similarly. The old geographic alliance now makes no sense unless other parameters are present.

In such a world it makes sense to form an association based on common language, business and economic models, and culture.

I envisage such an association comprising the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Such an association also forms a natural strategic defence alliance that literally spans the globe. In addition, such an alliance has been tried and tested over for nigh a century.

The other commonwealth countries can have a loose association with this core block, as they do not share the same degree of commonality.