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Image of Alan Winters

19 April 2017

L. Alan Winters CB, Professor of Economics and Director of UKTPO.

In this blog, Professor Winters responds to Patrick Minford and Edgar Miller’s recent paper on unilateral free trade in relation to Brexit.

Economists for Free Trade’s Patrick Minford recently suggested that the UK should

simply eliminate our tariffs on them [the EU], and by implication – under WTO rules – on everyone else. By doing so, we would achieve free trade for our consumers with one quick move [and increase consumer welfare by 4%] Minford (2017).

This, he explains in a fuller exposition, is achievable ‘via Unilateral Free Trade’ – see page 8 of Minford and Miller (2017), henceforth referred to as M&M.

But this claim is misleading or worse:

  • It is based on a very particular view of the world economy,
  • Even in M&M’s own analysis, the benefits of 4% of welfare (or GDP) depend on far more than ‘simply eliminating tariffs’; they also require deeper integration with the EU and a race to the bottom on standards;
  • M&M assume that the devaluation of sterling will have no effect on the prices of UK imports!

(more…)

April 19th, 2017

Posted In: UK- EU

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