Davis confirms that Britain could face “destructive” WTO tariffs outside the EU

Davis confirms that Britain could face “destructive” WTO tariffs outside the EU

David Davis has today admitted that Britain could face “swingeing and destructive” tariffs on exports to the EU, should we exit without having negotiated a free trade agreement with the EU.

This would mean high tariffs on key British exports, particularly the car industry, which would face a 10 per cent tariff on its exports to the EU. This would mean businesses being hit and jobs being lost across Britain.

The admission is also in direct contradiction to what was promised by Leave campaigners during the EU referendum, all of whom – including Mr Davis – promised the British people that the UK would get a free trade agreement with the EU upon exit. Vote Leave’s website said “we will have a new UK-EU treaty based on free trade.”

Other products facing high tariff barriers would be clothing at 12 per cent and lamb at 40 per cent.

Commenting, Chuka Umunna, Chair of Vote Leave Watch, said:

“David Davis has let the cat out of the bag. Contrary to his claims during the referendum campaign, there is a real possibility that we could fall out of the EU with no trade deal, and face swingeing and destructive tariffs on key exports.

“This would mean jobs being lost and businesses foreclosing up and down our country. And once the Article 50 button is pushed, we would be only two years away from this nightmare scenario becoming the reality.

“The only guaranteed way to stop it happening is for the government to listen to businesses and trade unions, and do all it can to ensure British membership of the European Single Market.”


At the Foreign Affairs Select Committee today, David Davis said:

David Davis: It depends what you’re after. If you’re after a factual statement of what the outcome could be, it I guess its what is commonly known in the world at large as World Trade Organisation rules. That’s, I guess the conclusion of what the situation would be if we were outside the Union with no deal. But I would not want anyone to think that that was in my view a very likely outcome.

Crispin Blunt: No, I’m not asking if that was a likely outcome, I’m not asking you to put a probability on it. I’m inviting us to get to an agreed understanding that it is World Trade Organisation rules on Most Favoured Nation status that would govern the sales of UK services and UK goods into the Single Market, and indeed the reverse.

DD: That is a matter of commonly held fact, I think.