IN early September 2018 my MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, Michael Tomlinson, appeared on the media and claimed that there was nothing to fear from a no-deal Brexit as we already traded with the US and China on World Trade Organisation terms only.

I wrote to him on September 8 to explain that this wasn’t entirely true as we had a number of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) in place through the EU with these countries which greatly facilitated trade. Mr Tomlinson responded that “‘China, US and other countries like India trade with the EU using WTO terms only”.

I was somewhat surprised therefore to come across a retweet by Mr Tomlinson on February 14 of a statement by the Department of International Trade confirming that the UK trades with the US on more than WTO terms due to the existence of MRAs. Although it is gratifying that Mr Tomlinson now appears to agree with me, I wonder why he was unable to do so back in September.

It does make me think that maybe we shouldn’t take at face value claims from certain politicians that no deal is nothing to fear and that WTO terms will be just fine.


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