Finally a Brexit deal that restores Britain's proper place in the world – PAUL BALDWIN – Express

Credit: Original article can be found here

Brexiteers mark your calendars. Put a ring around March 31 2023, because in the early hours of the morning on this date Brexit finally got done. Strangely quietly, and seemingly with a minimum of fuss, at around 1am today Britain signed a monumental deal with an international trade bloc which has absolutely nothing to do with the EU.

Economists believe by the start of the 2030s it will be the world’s largest trading system by a mile and allow members (ie Britain) to dictate the rules of global commerce. They will most probably dictate these rules to China and the USA.

Imagine that.

It’s huge (£11 trillion), it’s game-changing, it’s goodbye EU, and it’s hello again muscular British mercantilism, what took you so long?

It’s time to pack up your things Remainers, the game’s over for real this time.

There really is no going back from here.

Ever since 2016 when the nation decided it had had enough of the EU’s bossing, bullying, nannying and plans to subsume Britain into a Brussels-run superstate, diehard Remainers have ranted incessantly about how the British economy would wither and die without the kindly guiding hand of our European friends. They asked where is the alternative? Wither the trade? And they had a point.

But the idea that the UK was just going to extricate itself from half a century tied to the European Union overnight was always for the birds, which has made for a tough few years for Brexiteers (and that’s before we factor in Covid and Vladimir Putin).

But no more – Britain is now a member of the snappily-named Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership — whose 11 members are Japan, Canada, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Brunei.

It already accounts for 16 percent of world trade – but it is expected to account for so, so much more in very short order. And Britain has got in on the ground floor.

The political ramifications of this are possibly huger than the economic ones.

It is not just an acceptance that the axis of world economic power – which has largely been in the West since the Renaissance – is shifting rapidly, it is also a full-throated bid to get on board.

China, seeing the economic threat on its own doorstep, is keen to join the CPTPP. And Britain will help decide if they do or if they don’t – imagine the power-plays there.

And you can guarantee the US (which cut and ran from the CPTPP under Donald Trump) will note China’s interest and will also apply to re-join.

Again, suddenly Britain looks like a major player on the world stage again rather than the EU’s whipping boy.

But it’s not really the global PR which is exciting, it’s the structure and values of the CPTPP.

The EU was really set up as a Franco-German protectionist bloc, indeed it spent a good part of its existence actively keeping emerging nations from its markets… the morality of which you can decide yourself. It is weighed down with red tape and favours market control rather than competition.

The CPTPP is different – all it cares about is trade. Trade which is as free, smooth and cost-effective as humanly possible. There is no ECJ, no European Parliament, no attempt to force members to fall in line politically, no dream of a trans-European super-nation ruled by Germany, just trade.

And it is already close to the EU in GDP and will pass it by a considerable margin in the next decade while the EU’s economy retrenches, riven by east-west discord sparked by its insistence on imposing laws on member states.

In the very immediate term, Britain’s hand in dealings with Brussels is, vastly strengthened (and anyone who thinks the Northern Ireland-EU sovereignty issue is over is about to be rudely awakened in forthcoming days…) but it also throws up the mouth-watering prospect, somewhere down the line, of the EU coming cap-in-hand to Britain and fellow CPTPP members and asking for permission to join.

I know… schadenfreude is a terrible thing.

It also has the remarkable side-effect of momentarily stopping Liz Truss from looking like the mad relative in the attic and more like the estimable Trade Secretary she once was – because, despite Kemi Badenoch clinching the deal, the foresight and the hard yards were all Liz’s.

Hand on heart, speaking as a hack, trade deals are hard to make sexy and exciting.

But this one really is. Britain was never really comfortable with anything with a whiff of command economy about it. It’s why we instinctively distrust over-regulation and mock the nanny state.

We are at our best when standing on our own two feet, when chancing our arm, when cutting and thrusting with the best in the world.

It’s what made Britain great and, at risk of sounding cringingly Trumpian, this deal gives Britain a chance of being great again.