Britain Should Embrace Unilateral Free Trade Right Now

by Louis Rouanet

If we read the newspapers or listen to the experts, Britain faces two ways to negotiate its way out of the European Union without succumbing to the protectionists’ sirens. The first is a deal à la Norway not only with full access to the common market, but also with full implementation of EU law and a contribution to the EU budget as is the case for every member State. The second option would be a trade treaty such as the one negotiated between the EU and Canada. However, a viable third opportunity exists: unilateral free-trade.

Contrary to what is often assumed, unilateralism is not simply a utopian libertarian ideal which cannot be reached in today’s world. Unilateral free trade is genuine free-trade. It is also the most pragmatic and efficient strategy to foster commerce and peace. Theresa May seems ready to conduct an interventionist industrial and economic policy which oddly resembles French planning as it existed in the 50s and 60s. But, the free-market policy paradigm is more likely to transform post-Brexit Britain into a flourishing economy.

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