Down to earth

AS BRITAIN contemplates its post-Brexit identity, government ministers are racking up the air miles. Theresa May, the prime minister, thinks Britain “should become the global leader in free trade.” Officials are discussing trade deals with a range of Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Daniel Hannan, a prominent Leave campaigner, even suggested in the Sun newspaper that he wanted Britain to join NAFTA, an intra-American trade agreement. The Brexiteers have spent less time wooing the EU, to which Britain sends roughly half its exports. Indeed, given promises made during the campaign to restrict the free movement of EU labour, reaching a post-Brexit trade deal may prove difficult.

The focus on achieving trade agreements outside Europe may seem a smart move. The EU’s economy is weak: its demand for British exports has been depressed for years. Britain’s membership of the customs union prevents it from making trade deals with fast-growing economies such as India and China, where Savile Row suits and Scotch whisky find ready markets. Brexiteers say that if Britain quit the EU it could forge new deals wherever it liked, boosting...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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