CHEYENNE,WY – 6/29/16; By now, unless you reside on another planet, you know that the people of Great Britain have voted to leave the European Union. Those who believe this to be a bad move are busy predicting the end of the world for the Brits.
But freedom from EU membership opens the door to many possibilities, one of which is that Britain can now pursue a free trade area (FTA) with the United States. An agreement to trade freely between two of the world’s largest economies? That’s a plus for both countries.
A referendum on British membership in the European Union is over. The people have spoken. EU supporters argue that exit from the EU would hurt Britain’s economy and, in particular, in a magnificent example of centralized government at work, its ability to negotiate trading arrangements with the rest of the world—a responsibility currently exercised by the EU on behalf of all of its member states.
But there is every reason to believe that Britain, the world’s sixth-largest economy, will be able to negotiate trade agreements independently. That should be one of its priorities; to negotiate a modern free trade area (FTA), based on sovereignty and freedom, with the United States. And this is a goal that the United States, which should abandon its policy of supporting the EU at the cost of the sovereignty of its member nations, and weakening its own, should also champion.
The only obstacles to Great Britain pursuing a free trade area (FTA) with the United States are political. For the United Kingdom, one obstacle as a member of the EU, was that it did not have the legal authority to negotiate a free trade area on its own. For the U.K. to regain that authority, it had to leave the EU.
Now that it has made that move, it will be able to regain a broader control over its trade, economy, and political future; something that was denied in increasing measure since it joined the EU in 1973.
For the United States, the obstacle was that the Obama Administration wanted the U.K. to stay in the European Union, in part to help negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU that posed significant concerns. If Donald Trump wins the White House in November, this policy will not be followed. Thus, the barrier that was blocking a U.S.–U.K. free trade area was membership in the European Union.
Since the early post-war years, the United States had supported European integration and the European Union’s efforts to subordinate democratic and sovereign nations to supranational control. This policy was a mistake. It is not an approach that the United States, as a democracy, would accept for itself, and this country should, therefore, not urge other democracies to go down a path that leads to the loss of their national independence; i.e. their sovereignty.
The goal of the U.S.–U.K. free trade area (FTA), therefore, is to serve as both a symbol of and a real contribution to a shared Anglo–American rejection of supranational control and a shared belief that government must be based on national sovereignty and freedom, not central planning or control à la the former Soviet Union.