A pro-Brexit group of Conservative lawmakers predicted on Tuesday Britain will enjoy an economic boom if it trades with the EU under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules after Brexit.
Eurosceptics in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory party presented an alternative plan to the government’s that envisions a clean break from the EU bloc.
The question of how to engineer Britain’s departure without ruining its economy in the process has torn apart the ruling party since the Brexit referendum was passed in 2016.
Britain will formally leave the EU on March 29 even if no deal on the divorce terms is reached.
A group calling itself the Economists for Free Trade presented the plan on Tuesday, saying it was offering a “Clean Brexit — that is, a World Trade Deal under WTO rules.”
The deal “would allow us to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, regain control over our borders, laws, and regulations, free ourselves from the European Court of Justice, and have freedom to establish our own trading relationships with the rest of the world,” the group said.
The WTO plan meets the demands of the most strident proponents of Britain charting its own course in trade relations and wresting back legal levers of power from Brussels.
The government is instead proposing a plan to continue trading in goods with the EU under a “common rulebook” after Brexit to ensure frictionless trade at the border.
Tuesday’s event included former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and leading conservative Jacob Rees-Moog as well others whose views differ sharply from those of most members of May’s cabinet.
Some economists question the wisdom of relying on the unwieldy 164-nation World Trade Organization for defining a nation’s basic trade terms with its closest partners.
But the pro-Brexit group said WTO rules would help the UK economy expand by an additional seven percent over the government’s current projections for growth for the coming 15 years.
“The average household would gain around 8 percent, while the poorest household will be 15 percent better off,” the report said.
“The Treasury will receive about 10 percent extra revenue — around £80 billion ($104 billion, 90 billion euros).”
The group said the benefits would come mostly from Britain signing new and more advantageous free trade agreements.
The WTO “deal does not imply ‘walking away’ from the Brussels negotiations, as there are other aspects of the new EU-UK relationship… that need to be agreed,” the group said.
“A World Trade Deal only implies that there will not be an EU trade deal – not that there will be no deal on anything at all.”
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