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Britain cannot survive as a trading nation outside EU

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 19, 2012

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I would like to comment on the letter Peter Wyatt has written about the EU.

It is always a surprise to me to read these strong anti European comments. From a personal point of view, I spent some 30 years running a manufacturing business and eventually achieving exports of some 90%, mainly to European markets. After battling for years with different custom taxes, paperwork and protectionism, the relief after joining the EU was instant. Sudden a huge market became freely available and we certainly made the most of it.

Mr Wyatt is still under the illusion that we a still part of the British Empire. With that comes the belief that we are better than anyone else, cleverer than anyone else and we need no one. He feels we can bob around on our little island confident that because of our history we can survive anything.

Nothing is further from the truth. In fact we are a relatively insignificant nation that likes to look inwards and backwards. We need access to as many customers for our products as possible. This country produces the most creative and innovative engineers and designers in the world. To try to block them free access to the EU is just plain stupid. Why does Mr Wyatt think these Japanese and European car (and other) manufacturers have factories in the UK? They can get all the similar financial incentives from any other EU country... the reason why is because A) we speak English, a universal language, and B) we are better than any other EU country at this work, and C) believe or not, we are in the EU!

I would agree with Mr Wyatt that the percentage of UK exports to non European countries being 51.4% is significant. However I disagree that the balance of 48.6% to EU countries is insignificant. Once this figure had a large dose of import duty added I can assure Mr Wyatt that those exports would probably halve. We would just cease to be competitive. And of course, all our car factories would, over two or three years move all production to other more friendly EU countries as they too ceased to be competitive. Meanwhile the EU countries who have benefited would be rubbing their hands together as this opportunity to create employment and exports was handed to them by those strange British people. Of course this would in time result in another 500,000 or so unemployed, so before you try to calculate the cost of lost exports, just consider the additional cost of paying 500,000 people unemployment benefits.

The world is a much smaller place than it was even 30 years ago. There is fierce competition from all over the world for virtually everything. When I read about Germans building fuel pumps in Italy to sell to the Koreans who are building a car plant in China to satisfy a Chinese need for cheap cars, and then I hear suggestions that the British have no need to be part of any of this, I find it very depressing.

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