UK should be excluded from EU trade decisions, industry figure says

31 January 2017 9:55am

11 July 2016. By Poppy Bullock.

The EU would be “silly” to allow the UK to keep participating in negotiations on trade decisions following the country’s vote to leave the bloc, a representative of industry group Aegis Europe said today.

“In discussions and decisions on trade issues, it would be silly of the EU to let the UK participate here, because everything that’s decided on trade issues will also affect the future trade between the EU and the UK,” said Milan Nitzschke of Aegis, an alliance of 30 European associations for companies that make products ranging from bicycles to fertilizers.

The comments were made during a press briefing in Brussels, during which Aegis and other industry groups urged EU leaders to refuse to recognize China as a market economy, saying they still needed protection against dumped and subsidized Chinese imports into the bloc.

Trade policy often sparks political debate — such as on how open Europe’s markets should be — and offers a “perfect example of where the UK shouldn’t be allowed to participate in . . . discussions and decisions,” Nitzschke said.

The county’s exclusion should be “from now on,” Nitzschke said, although he acknowledged that this wouldn’t be feasible.

Britain traditionally defends free trade and has contributed to blocking a change in EU trade rules that would allow investigators to impose higher tariffs.

Nitzschke said “the simple fact that the UK wants to leave the EU may shift a little bit the majority of the calculations” among national governments voting on the bloc’s trade measures, thereby affecting future laws.

But he also said that a Brexit was bad news for business. “Weakening the EU market can never be positive for industry,” he said.

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