On Friday 1 February a new trade deal between the European Union and Japan comes into force giving businesses in EU countries access to the world’s biggest open trade zone.
Commenting, Sir Vince Cable MP, Leader of the Lib Dems, former Business Secretary and a leading supporter of People’s Vote, said:
“The EU’s trade deal with Japan took years to negotiate and runs to thousands of pages, but British business will worry that they might only enjoy the benefits for a few weeks if we crash out of the European Union in March.
“We were told it would be the easiest thing ever to leave the European Union, but this deal shows that there is no form of Brexit that fulfils the promises made for Brexit. Losing access to this trade deal will leave the UK with a worse deal than we already have inside the EU. For Britain to sign its own trade deal with Japan will take Liam Fox years, and meanwhile the uncertainty will go on and on for British business, costing this country jobs, skills and investment.
“Liam Fox previously said the EU was in decline and that we need to leave to maximise growth opportunities. Since then the EU has negotiated two new major free trade deals and Liam Fox has negotiated none, and more than that, he cannot even guarantee we will keep the trade deals we already have with over 65 countries as members of the EU.
“I spoke to 90 Japanese business leaders via video link from London’s Chatham House this week. Japanese investment is worth billions to the UK economy. It was always clear that they were investing in the UK because they views it as a gateway to the wider European market and the danger of Brexit is that they will no longer invest here.
“I made clear that no deal is a choice by this Conservative Government. I reassured them that a People’s Vote with an option to remain is still very much a possibility. Playing games in order to scare MPs is having a damaging effect on confidence but there is still time to stop Brexit.
“Losing access to trade deals like this one is not in the national interest and another reason why as the clock ticks down to March 29, the calls for the public to get the final say will only get louder.”