UK and India launch free trade agreement talks
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Jayne Adye, director of the Get Britain Out campaign, accentuated the positive in her latest weekly bulletin at the end of a week which has left Prime Minister Boris Johnson badly bruised. Mr Johnson is reeling after being forced to apologise in the Commons for attending a lockdown-busting “bring your own bottle” party in the Downing Street garden on May 2020.
Ms Adye conceded the ongoing controversy was threatening to overshadow the PM’s bid to forge a new course for Britain outside the bloc.
However, she added: “Amongst all the bad news there has also been some good news to start the year and give us a clear sign of what is to come.
“If the Government can actually get on with the job they were elected to do.”
To illustrate her point, Ms Adye explained:
- Brixham Fish Market in Devon had recorded its best ever year for the value of seafood landed at the port.
- UK Unemployment had continued to fall – and was now at 4.2 percent, while in the EU it was continuing to rise and is now at over 7.2 percent.
- The United Kingdom on Thursday began trade discussions with India.
Ms Adye commented: “Unlike with previous negotiations India has said Freedom of Movement is not required for a deal, and they only wish to lower visa costs for skilled workers moving between the two countries.
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“However, Indian trade representatives have said they are happy to leave this out if it is a red line for the UK.”
- Additionally, UK exports to South Korea have increased by over £620 million in the last year, paving the way for the UK to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), hence enabling free trade without any of the political ambitions of the EU – or Freedom of Movement.
- The UK has been given command of NATO’s naval missions in the Baltic, North Sea and the Mediterranean – directly observing and confronting growing hostility from Russia.
Ms Adye pointed out: “The lead vessel for the mission will be the UK’s latest flagship aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth.”
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- Meanwhile, the EU was excluded from taking part in NATO talks with Russia, which took place in Brussels this week, something Ms Adye described as an “added bonus” which demonstrated that “yet again, the EU is not a serious player when it comes to international security and foreign policy”.
- Furthermore, Google has made a £730 million commitment to London by buying their office block to open up space for hiring more staff.
Ms Adye said: “This comes as they push to encourage more people to return to working from the office.”
- Finally, in the City of London, profits have been growing faster in 2021 than at any other point since 2015, and more rapidly than other European business hubs, with companies and investors still preferring to do businesses in the UK than the EU.
Statistics released yesterday suggested Britain’s economy is now back to its pre-pandemic levels and was outstripping Germany.
Telegraph business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote: “Output in November was 0.7 percent higher than before the pandemic.
“Omicron will take a bit back in December but the light-touch response of the Government, vindicated by booster vaccination and widespread immunity from past T cell memory, ensures that any economic hiccup will not seriously hold back recovery.”
German output remained far short, Mr Evans-Pritchard pointed out.
He added: “The German data agency warned today that the economy faces contraction this quarter of minus 0.5 percent to one percent. There are growing fears of an outright recession over the winter.
He stressed: “This is an extraordinary reversal of fortunes.
“Germany was universally praised in the first wave of Covid for limiting the economic damage.
“Its Kurzarbeit system designed to help companies keep workers employed part-time was hailed as a model for the rest of us, as it is in many ways.”
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