Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


COMMENT: The EU SAYS it wants free trade – but does it really?

IT IS now three and a half years since Britain left the European Union. Brexit spelled the end of decades of subservience to intervention and bureaucracy from Brussels.

While lots of the benefits are still waiting on the sidelines, delayed by political obstacles, the Covid pandemic and the inflation crisis, there is one area where Global Britain is already making the most of Brexit – free trade.

When it comes to trade policy, the EU is a control freak. It demands EU members are part of its customs union which gives it a blank cheque to decide trade policy on its members’ behalf.

That means they are not able to go out into the world and strike trade deals with other countries, to export goods and services abroad and import things at lower prices and with fewer restrictions, giving consumers more choice and lower prices.

Instead, EU members can’t do anything unless unelected Brussels bureaucrats decide it is in the interests of the whole bloc to agree a new trade policy with another country.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

That means any steps towards free trade are excruciatingly slow. In fact, the EU often pushes things in the other direction – with trade becoming less and less free – more often than not because of shameless protectionism or virtue-signalling, rather than what’s best for you and me.

But thanks to Brexit, Britain is freed of those shackles. For the first time in decades, we have been able to go out into the world and trade freely. And that is exactly what we have done.

Trade secretary Kemi Badenoch, continuing the work of previous trade secretaries like Liz Truss and Liam Fox, has announced that Britain will join a trade bloc called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The CPTPP is everything the EU should be but isn’t. it is a community of liberty-minded nations working together to build trade bridges, lower tariffs, deregulate, and make it as easy as possible to buy and sell things around the world, which benefits everyone.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Britain is the first non-founding member to be allowed to join the CPTPP. One of the first benefits of CPTPP membership to be reported was the removal of import tariffs on Malaysian palm oil, which will make a huge difference to struggling businesses, especially now that vegetable oil prices are through the roof thanks to inflation and the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the EU is making it more difficult than ever before for EU companies to buy the palm oil they need. That’s because of environmental virtue-signalling. They say they are harsh on palm oil because they’re worried about deforestation.

In reality, palm oil is much better for the planet than the alternatives. But the EU is sticking to its guns, including defending other products, many of which are suspiciously made in Europe.

The fight against deforestation is real and ongoing but shutting the door on imports for politically convenient reasons, like the EU is doing, is not the way to tackle it.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Recently, there was another big step forward. From now on, palm oil producers and smallholder farmers will have to sign up to something called the MSPO, a certification scheme for verifying that the palm oil was produced in an environmentally sustainable way.

This is something the EU wants, but their ways of doing it were, unsurprisingly, incredibly bureaucratic and impossible to comply with, especially if you’re a poor farmer in Malaysia.

In contrast, the MSPO is designed in such a way that complying with it is cheap and accessible. That means it can actually achieve what the EU wants – ensuring sustainability in the supply chain – without the endless bureaucracy, which would hamstring the palm oil trade.

The MSPO covers 96% of the Malaysian palm oil industry and ought to address all the EU’s environmental concerns. So have they accepted it and embraced palm oil imports? Of course not. The EU is saying it’s their way or the highway.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

This is a prime example of what happens when regulators are able to accumulate too much power over trade policy. While the EU is doing this, making life much harder for European consumers and businesses, Britain has reportedly decided to accept the MSPO.

Because we are outside the EU, we are able to sidestep the Brussels madness and embrace real solutions and true free trade. That helps Malaysian farmers, it helps companies like pubs, restaurants and chippies which use palm oil, and it helps you and me as consumers because it means lower prices for us.

Free trade benefits everyone, but the EU insists on digging itself into a hole rather than opening itself up to the world. Thanks to Brexit, we are finally able to do our own thing and trade freely around the world.

Jason Reed is a writer and broadcaster on politics and policy for a wide range of outlets.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.



TOMMY Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was arrested by the Metropolitan and City Police on Sunday, and was later released where he will be...


I’M A CELEBRITY star Josie Gibson once posted a video of Tommy Robinson’s speech to the Oxford Union – where she praised the controversial...


TOMMY Robinson’s, (real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon) return to X (formally known as Twitter), has set social media alight, he has been trending every...


POLICE officers were  “surrounded” by demonstrators and prevented from leaving making two arrests at a pro-Palestine march in London, the Met Police said, a week...

Royal Family

PIERS Morgan has reportedly left the royal family considering legal action against Omid Scobie by naming the two senior royals, King Charles and Princess...


WILL Mellor wants to find a new home for ‘Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps’ after the out of touch BBC...


OMID Scobie is being branded a “liar” for insisting he had nothing to do with identifying two senior members of the royal family in...


PETE Doherty listens to his late friend Amy Winehouse’s music “most days”. The Libertines singer – who has had his own well-documented struggle with...


OMID Scobie has declared he isn’t ‘friends’ with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and insisted he wasn’t briefed by the royal or her husband Prince...


GREATER Manchester Police arrested and then de-arrested a pro-Hamas protester in Manchester City Centre yesterday after a violent mob demanded he was released from...


BAZ Luhrmann is open to making an expanded version of ‘Elvis’. The 61-year-old filmmaker has created an extended edition of his 2008 film ‘Australia’...


Online casinos have become a popular activity for many people. It’s not simply a luxury habit for high rollers; anyone can sign up and...


PETE Doherty has revealed Shane MacGowan stole his crack pipe and told him his drugs were rubbish. The recovering heroin addict, 44, told the...


POGUES frontman Shane MacGowan – who is best known for his Christmas smash-hit classic ‘Fairytale of New York’ – has passed away at the...


GREATER Manchester Police has responded to the incident in Manchester Centre on Saturday that saw a detainee pro-Hamas protester released and de-arrested after a...


ROCKSTAR Games will drop the highly anticipated trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA6) in December 5th, the British company said as the franchise...


JOHN Lennon’s last words were “I’m shot”, according to a new documentary.  The Beatles icon was shot dead aged 40 by obsessed fan Mark...


ROCKSTAR Games dropped the first trailer for GTA6 in the early hours sending the gaming community into overdrive with excitement. It’s been a whopping...


CHER has a major regret about one of the biggest hits of her career and fears she “missed out” on “a lot of money”....


‘Tis the season of magic, love, and giving—Christmas is just around the corner! As we wrap up another incredible year, there’s something truly special...