An EU-US free trade agreement is to be welcomed. Trade is good, and anything that makes it easier for people to trade with one another will help make the world an even better place.
But I do hope that any EU-US free trade agreement does – to use the cliché of the day – what it says on the tin. That is, that it removes tariffs and protectionist barriers to trade.
I fear the language of trade liberalisation could be used to advance an agenda of regulatory standardisation. Rather as happened with the EU Single Market.
We are already starting to see talk about the need to ensure that EU and US regulators regulate up to common standards. What next?
Talk of "level playing fields"? Big corporations lobbying to ensure that the regulations become a barrier to entry against more nimble competitors, as happens on an industrial scale in Bussels? Not really free trade, is it?
To make certain this does not happen, we need to ensure those officials and technocrats in charge of any deal making are properly accountable. Right now, they're anything but.
One further reason to welcome an EU-US trade deal; if the EU can do a free trade deal with the US, then why not the UK once outside the EU?blog comments powered by Disqus
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times