The case for free trade – no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’



Global economic freedom up slightly; UK ranks 10th among 159 jurisdictions


Response to possibility of 'no deal' scenario

IEA's Brexit Unit releases paper making the case for free trade
Executive summary: 

  • From 1990 to 2010, free trade helped a billion people lift themselves out of extreme poverty. But the pace of liberalisation has since slowed and protectionism is back in fashion. Fortunately, Brexit provides a golden opportunity for the UK to become a global champion of free trade again. This is potentially a win-win both for the UK and for the rest of the world.

  • Admittedly, it won’t be easy. Powerful lobbies protect the interests of the few who might lose out from a further reduction in trade barriers, rather than the many who would gain. The voices of consumers are rarely heard. Even the economics commentariat is susceptible to fits of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. This briefing addresses some of the main doubts. Further explanation of any of the points is available on request.

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Julian Jessop is an independent economist with over thirty years of experience gained in the public sector, City and consultancy, including senior positions at HM Treasury, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Capital Economics. He was Chief Economist and Head of the Brexit Unit at the IEA until December 2018 and continues to support our work, especially schools outreach, on a pro bono basis.