Stephen Kinnock is the Labour MP for Aberavon constituency. A Brexit he says would have a catastrophic effect on the British economy.
“We know that every ton of steel that we export from the UK to the EU is not subjected to any tariffs at all, and also it goes into a harmonised set of regulations and standards. There are no tariffs barriers and there are no non tariff barriers. If you come out of the EU you then have to start trying to agree what the trading relationship looks like. And you’ve got 2 choices. You either stay in the single market or you come out. Now you can stay in the single market like Norway does, but you can’t then stop European Union citizens coming into the UK.
Now the heart of the case that the people who want Brexit are making is this idea that you can somehow control your borders and stop people coming in. But if we end up staying in the single market and accepting free movement of people, I think you’ll end up with a constitutional crisis in this country. Because people will say, well we voted for Brexit, because we were worried about immigration, but it now turns out we can’t do anything about it because we want to stay in the single market.
So I think that would lead pretty quickly to demands for another referendum, of some kind of rethink completely of what happened. Or it would lead to a push for us to leave the single market completely and then be like Canada, or Singapore, or a country that’s not in the single market.
If you do that, you then have to start paying tariffs on top of everything that you export. Whether it’s steel, whether it’s cars, whether it’s whisky, whatever it might be you’re paying. And that I think would absolutely wreck the British export sector. 45 percent of our exports go to the EU, and the knock on effects of that for the rest of the British economy would be catastrophic.
So people need to find a way of understanding those realities and understanding those facts.
I know it’s difficult for people, they have busy lives, they’re running around, and it’s much easier to just swallow the rethorics of the Leave campaign about how we’ll take back control and how we can leave the single market and there won’t be any costs, or stay in the single market and we’ll still be able to control things. When you look at the facts, you scratch below the surface you realise that its all based on myth and on some kind of fantasy project. So I hope that on the 23rd of June people will make an informed decision.But what they will also understand is that leaving the EU is a massive leap into the unknown. We simply don’t know what a post Brexit UK would look like.
What is happening with the tariffs is that the British government is blocking the European commission’s attempt to give the European anti dumping measures more teeth. There’s something called the lesser duty rule, which is the basis of EU anti dumping. What it means is that the EU always ends up applying rather low tariffs as punishment on countries that are exporting products to the EU at rates which are lower than what it actually costs them to make, and sell their stuff in their own home market. That’s the definition of dumping. The lesser duty rule is quite a constraint on the European union regulations. The European commission wants to change it. Most member states agree that it should be changed so that they can start to apply much higher anti-dumping measures. But the UK is the ringleader of a number of governments in the EU that is blocking the scrapping of the lesser duty rule. And the reason that the UK government is doing that is because they have a China first policy. They’ve rolled out the red carpet for Beijing. George Osborne has done a lot of deals with the Chinese, around getting Chinese investment into the British economy. In return for giving the Chinese an easy ride when it comes to them dumping their steel and other products on UK markets. Actually the problem here lies with the British government in London and not at all with the European commission or other member states in Brussels.