How Would Unilateral Free Trade Work in Practice?

On this podcast, you’ll hear an update from our Brexit Unit, run by the IEA’s chief economist Julian Jessop.

Coming up, digital Officer Madeline Grant discusses the concept of unilateral free trade with Julian – a policy he thinks should be considered during the Brexit negotiations.

Julian gives a comprehensive explanation of what unilateral free trade would mean in practice – and how after Brexit, the UK will be free to set its own trade rules and tariff barriers. Julian and Madeline also discuss the potential disadvantages, especially in the short term, of such a policy – mainly the disadvantages to British producers, who will face increased competition, with no guarantee it’ll be easier to export to other parts of the world.

Julian argues that almost any policy change would have its ups and downs. But under a free trade policy, the economy as a whole would be better off, providing an opportunity to compensate those who would miss out in the short term.

Julian argues for a pragmatic and phased approach to policy change, but remains committed to the idea that government should not be in the business of cutting off customers from the benefits of free trade.

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