UK Would Be Only Country To Trade Exclusively On WTO Terms, Expert Tells James O'Brien

18 July 2019, 11:36 | Updated: 18 July 2019, 11:43

The WTO was only ever meant to be a safety net and the UK would be the only country trading exclusively on its terms, according to the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Today, the Office for Budget Responsibility, an independent watchdog, warned a no-deal Brexit could lead to a 2% fall in real GDP by the end of 2020 and a sharp fall in the pound.

Speaking to James O'Brien, Chris Southworth revealed our countries are baffled by our decision to turn our back on the Single Market.

He said: "From a trade point-of-view, it doesn't make any sense at all. Our international audience are flabbergasted by what we're doing, particularly as it's a voluntary decision.

"Why would you leave the Premiership of trade, which is the Single Market, to trade on a less preferential set of terms in what would be the first division? It doesn't make any sense."

James O'Brien spoke to Chris Southworth about WTO trading
James O'Brien spoke to Chris Southworth about WTO trading. Picture: LBC

Mr Southworth explained that to get to the level we are currently at, the UK will have to negotiate trade deals with 120 countries: "No one has ever done that, certainly not at the scale and pace we are proposing to do it. And the average time to negotiate a trade deal is 5-7 years.

"Nobody trades on WTO rules.

"Everybody ultimately trades with their neighbours first and the WTO rules are there as a backstop, a safety net. But in reality, every other country has much more sophisticated trade relationships.

"If the UK crash out of the EU, we really will drop down to that safety net and that is unheard of for a G20 country, let alone a G7 country."

It's a fascinating insight from a man who really knows what he's talking about. Watch it in full at the top of the page.