Leave Means Leave to call for ‘super Canada’ free trade with EU in push for hard Brexit

THERESA May is facing a major challenge ahead of the Tory party conference in Birmingham as the group leading the charge for a hard Brexit publishes a blueprint to get Britain out of the EU.

Theresa and BrexiteersGETTY

Theresa May could face a challenge at her party conference from hard Brexit group Leave Means Leave

With the Prime Minister set to make a big speech on Brexit on Sunday, Leave Means Leave, backed by a number of senior MPs, will call for a “super Canada” free trade deal with the EU.

The organisation chaired by business man and Leave.EU veteran Richard Tice also uses a new report – Going Global Without Delay – to call on Mrs May to end the dithering and give the EU two years to agree a free trade deal or suffer the consequences.

Meanwhile, the new report says that Britain can become “a beacon of global trade” after quitting the Single Market by securing a series of tariff free trade deals around the world in the two year period before Brexit is confirmed.

There have also been concerns that her Remain supporter Chancellor Philip Hammond may have persuaded the Prime Minister to take a Brexit lite approach and allow some free movement to continue with the EU as well as payments continuing to Brussels.

Leave Means Leave has also unveiled the first “Brexit martyr” John Longworth, who was forced to quit as director general of the British Chambers of commerce for supporting Leave, as its co-chairman with Mr Tice.


The group are calling for a ‘super Canada’ free trade deal with the EU

The plans are outlined Sunday in a commentary piece written by senior Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman, a member of the European Parliament’s trade committee, in what he calls the “Super Canada” deal based on the agreement with the North American country and EU which is due to come into force.

Crucially, he argues that that the access to the Single Market for valuable financial services sector in the UK can be protected.

The EU’s largest trading partner selling well over £150 billion to the EU


Among those backing the group’s Brexit blueprint are former ministers Owen Paterson MP, Dominic Raab MP, Sir Gerald Howarth MP and Peter Lilley MP.

The report sets out criteria the UK Government should use when securing a deal with the EU which includes negotiating “as near tariff-free free trade as possible”, to ensure that it is for the “UK Parliament to solely decide its laws and trade, migration, agriculture and fisheries policies” and for Article 50 to be triggered “no later than Q1 2017”.

The report rejects the so-called Norway and Swiss options for a trade deal with the EU because they are unsatisfactory and such arrangements would not allow the UK to regain control over its borders.

Instead, it urges ministers to attempt to secure a zero tariff free trade deal with the EU once they have set in train the formal process of leaving by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

It also argues that Mrs May should make it clear at the outset that if no deal was reached with the maximum two years timeframe for negotiations, Britain should go it alone, trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules and seeking a Free Trade deal with other nations and blocs.

The report found merit in the Canadian Option, “notably that Canada secured an agreement to eliminate 98 per cent of tariffs despite being only the EU’s 12th largest trading partner and with the EU running a small surplus with Canada”.

This is very promising for the UK – “the EU’s largest trading partner selling well over £150 billion to the EU, a magnitude around eight times greater than Canada’s trade.”

The benefits of the Canadian Option include saving the £14.8 bn net per annum from the UK’s EU membership fee, regaining full control over the UK’s borders and exempting the UK from the European Court of Justice.

Richard TiceGETTY

Richard Tice has called for Mrs May to stop dithering and give the EU two years to agree to a deal

However, it notes that the major concern with the Canadian Option is the seven years it took to negotiate with the EU who are “notoriously slow”.

To overcome this issue, the report recommends that “the UK Government should also be very clear with the EU at the outset of negotiations that if a zero tariff deal cannot be struck within 24 months the UK will leave the EU and trade under WTO rules and we will not be bullied, or bounced into arrangements that do not meet the criteria test set out.”

At the same time, the report makes the case for the UK to “become a beacon of global free trade, encouraging cross border trade and investment, challenging other nation states, and the EU itself, to follow its example.”

A Global Free Trade Option would see the UK offer to remove all tariffs on imports from other nations providing they reciprocate.

Mr Longworth said: “I am delighted to join the Leave Means Leave campaign.

“The British people have voted for Brexit and the Government must deliver on this in full.

“We should leave no later than two years after Article 50, or earlier if EU negotiations stall.”

In a further blow to the Prime Minister’s authority, another group of senior Tory MPs led by former cabinet ministers John Redwood, Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson and Peter Lilley along with senior backbencher Sir Bill Cash have produced a report which says Britain could end Brussels rule in less than two years.

The report – A Route Map for Brexit – also says that negotiations over a future trade deal with Brussels can be “short and simple”.

Mr Redwood said: “It is in both sides interest to reach an earlier agreement to reduce business uncertainty.

“If there is a breakdown or no likelihood of agreement, then the UK should withdraw and after the two-year period the UK will be formally out. Trade will revert to WTO rules.”



The question everyone is asking is what does a Brexit trade deal look like with the EU?

One option available is the ‘Canadian option’ – a trade deal with the EU called CETA (Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement).

This is an excellent model for the UK and not just on the basis we share a language, the monarchy, the same

English legal base and Westminster democracy.

The CETA deal is due to be signed the end of October.

This deal gives Canada near full access to the EU Single Market but without any Free Movement of people or payment of fees to the EU. It gets rid of 99 per cent tariffs (from the WTO Rules version

it adds to) and 92 per cent agricultural tariffs and has services included and mutual recognition of its professionals (so they can work in the EU without further tests).

My belief is that the UK should use this CETA deal as our template for a UK-EU deal, that I would call ‘Super Canada’.

So we’d say that 99 per cent is great but let’s keep the 100 per cent tariff and quota free access we have now in the EU both ways, and the 92 per cent must be 100 per cent for agriculture as now.

Tariffs GETTY

India has 150% tariffs on our luxury goods, like whiskey

We’d say it’s fantastic you have the best ever services arrangements in an EU trade deal but we would need much more and in much more detail than the seven pages in this 1,500 page deal. Financial services and the City would have to be protected – such as over EU passporting barriers to access.

That then is where our negotiation effort would be focused: around the firming up and extensions and reassurances and protections we need.

But that does make clear we will not be spending years on getting rid of thousands of lines of tariffs and quotas as all other EU Free Trade Agreements have to – India’s 150 per cent tariffs on our luxury goods, whisky and cars for example.

Because we start from a very different position.

CETA has taken seven years to negotiate but only three years were actual trade negotiations, two were wasted over the EU trying to dictate human rights to Canada, and another two due to investor court protection (ISDS) and links to the failing TTIP.

So two years for a UK-EU deal is perfectly reasonable and practical to deliver within Article 50’s limits.

I believe that a Super Canada deal is the best of what I term the ‘WTOPlus’ options we must be looking at as an alternative.

It will be the great trade deal the Government wants. David Campbell Bannerman is a senior member of Leave Means Leave and a member of the European Parliament Trade Committee.

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