A question on Brexit and trade

s300_EiG_for_Gov.ukI’ve already explained why I’ll be voting Remain next Thursday, and nothing I’ve seen, heard or read over the last couple of months has changed my mind on that, but here’s a question about the arguments of the Leave side that I’ve not seen posed:

Which countries are you going to make better trade deals with, and why haven’t they spoken up?

It’s a recurrent mantra of the Leave campaign that if we were no longer members of the EU, we’d have the freedom to negotiate our own trade deals with other countries that would be better for Britain than our current ones. Surely, if this was to be the case, then other countries would be lining up to urge us to leave the EU and negotiate these deals with them?

Trade is a two-way process through which – if it’s conducted fairly – each side should benefit. So, if leaving the EU means we can negotiate better trade deals, then not only will Britain benefit but so will the countries we make these deals with. So, if we would benefit and they would benefit, why aren’t all these countries queuing up to urge us to vote to leave the EU? Why, instead, are the leaders of so many countries outside the EU urging us to remain in the EU?

Who are these countries that we’ll supposedly negotiate these better trade deals with, and why aren’t they speaking up now? Or do the Leave camapaign believe that we can get other countries to agree to deals that are worse for them but to the benefit of the UK? That might have worked a couple of hundred years ago, but I don’t think we can recreate the Empire, even if we were to leave the EU.